Grandma and her boys

Monday, 31 August 2009

Budgeting for Christmas

On my daughters blog this week she talks about budgeting on the food bill as her challenge for September.
I remember one year when we were young and penniless, reading an article about budgeting for Christmas and I actually did it.
You need to organise yourself way before the Christmas period, now is not to early for you need to work towards it.
The way I felt afterwards was so good, when I realised the achievement.

There are years in every ones life when a budget is imperative and if this is yours read on .....

Is it possible to celebrate the holidays and escape a financial hangover in January?
Absolutely. You just have to know how......

It is simple really you just need a note book and a pen for you are going to make lists... so here we go !!

The Budget
No one actually wants to make a Christmas budget,
but having no budget gives the illusion of no limits – leading straight to debt.
A budget will help you avoid the slippery slope.
First, determine how much you can afford to spend. . The more detail, the better.
People often have a rough idea of the total amount they want to spend, but they don't know the specifics.

So make a list of all your expenses – gifts, decorations, food and allocate the appropriate amount for each item or each person.
"But you must stick to it"

Use the same approach if buying gifts for friends . Rather than feeling restricted (OK, maybe you will a little), When you realise you spent within your Christmas budget you will feel guilt-free.

Keep you eyes open for specials in the few months before the holiday period...but consult your list.... remember to keep a list of items bought and where you have hidden them !!!

When shopping with out the budget, you'll likely be tempted to buy more extravagant gifts – that flashy video game system instead of a soccer ball . Before you purchase the more expensive item, ask yourself, Where am I going to get the money for this? is it in the budget,
Please remember though you have to make this into a bit of a game so you enjoy it.

Keep your receipts and track your spending to help you stay the course.

Even if you're celebrating Christmas on a budget, you can still enjoy the season with a little creative thinking: , Make a menu, this way you will purchase only the things you require and not be tempted by this fancy packet and that special offer that don't fit into the menu.
Purchase food items that will store in the couple of months before the holiday period, an item here and there on you normal weekly bill will be absorbed easily.

Share the cooking, Mum bring the veg, Auntie bring the dessert, you supply the meat and so forth.
Some times you really have to reign in so here are a few suggestion that will not break the budget hopefully at all.
Give "gifts of love," such as baby sitting for a weekend, gardening ( sweeping leaves or lawn mowing) ... Household chore time (something you know the recipient does not like to do ) this will cost you nothing but time.
A food basket put together over time.
Or ready mixed recipe ingredients in a nice container or jar with your favorite cookie/ cake mix ..... plus instructions.
Even cook something, a special cake .... it costs not a lot more to increase the recipe and make a small extra cake on the side. How about Jams, Marmalade's, cookies and pickles ( people love home made goodies)
If you sew make a tree ornament, then tie to a favorite food/ sweet item.

Lavender from the garden, made into Lavender Bags for the undies drawer, with a little effort and time making things gives that extra gift of "love" for the item was made especially.
Give a gift certficate to the kids for a day out to something they enjoy but don't get to often ...(this kills two birds with the one stone) but they don't realise it.

I remember giving our young teens 13 and 15 yrs old a certificate of a free run at the after Christmas sales or January sales..... we would have had to buy their clothes any way (another double kill.) They had a great day out and bought all they desired with in reason of course and the budget ... oh! and we supervised the day and just paid the bills.

Get your shopping done early. There's no need to wait for the mob of holiday shoppers to signify the start of your hunt for the perfect presents.

Additionally, you can contact family and friends and let them know that you are planning to purchase small gifts to keep within your budget and ask them to please do the same for you.

For Stress Free Christmas...every third year buy everyone a gift certificate from a store of their choice, plus a small article to attach it to.


1 comment:

boysmum2 said...

I have a lot of my presents for this year already sorted, but like you said....remember where you hid them!