How to survive Christmas on a budget
For those on a tight budget, Christmas might be a time of your you dread. There are the expected presents, numerous family get togethers and the higher food bills that go along with it all. But Christmas doesn’t have to cost you thousands each your, and you definitely don’t need to go into debt for one day. Keep reading to find out how to survive Christmas on a budget.
Set a budget
Before going any further, you need to set a budget, which will depend entirely on your level of disposable income. Don’t set a budget of $1500 if you only have $30 left at the end of each week, Christmas will eat up your entire savings! Just remember Christmas is only one day, and there is little point spending all year struggling for that one day. When setting your budget, consider all Christmas related expenses that will need to be included, such as gifts, food and social events.
Make a gift list
Once you have set a budget, make a list of everyone on your gift list. Then while taking into consideration your Christmas budget from the previous step, assign an allocated spending amount to each gift. Take this gift list with you when you head out Christmas shopping and stick to it, making sure each gift comes in under budget. Always shop with a purpose.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to spend a certain amount on each gift, there are so many ways to save while still giving thoughtful gifts. Plan your Christmas shopping ahead of time to avoid spending more than you intended on a last minute rushed shopping trip, shop the sales, particularly the after Christmas sales ready for the next year, and the mid-year toy sales for children’s gifts. DIY homemade gifts are also a fantastic way to keep your Christmas budget in check.
Don’t go into debt
It’s never a good idea to go into debt for anything (housing excluded), and it’s definitely not a good idea to get into debt for Christmas. If you don’t have the cash to pay for Christmas gifts, then it’s time to reassess who you are giving presents too, and how much you are spending on each gift. If you find your gift expenses are out of control, try a secret santa style Christmas, where family members gives and receives only one gift.
The best way to avoid Christmas debt and to make sure you have enough money in the budget is simply to plan ahead. Christmas is the same date every year, so you have a full 12 months after Christmas to save for the next. Many banks offer a Christmas Club style savings bank account, where you add to the account over the year, but can only access the account between the months of November and December.
Christmas hamper such as Chrisco are rarely ever worth the money, as they add a significant markup onto the products they offer. Bypass the middle man and stock up on supermarket specials instead throughout the year. If your grocery budget is a little tight toward the end of the year, consider purchasing a small gift card along with your shopping each week/fortnight/month and keep it aside for your pre-Christmas shopping. It’s likely that you won’t notice the small extra expense at the checkout, and you can then use it to treat your family during the Christmas season, without paying for highly inflated Christmas hampers.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE CHRISTMAS ON A BUDGET? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.