How to Budget at Christmas

Christmas time can be an expensive time of year. There can be many items that you need to buy, outfits to purchase, and guests to visit. It doesn’t help that shops can be so beautifully decorated that it can be difficult to resist going in and making impulse buys. In the current economic climate, many of us are trying to find ways in which to stick to strict budgets and at Christmas time it’s even more important to do so. Below are some ways in which you can budget for over the Christmas period. If you are committed to sticking to it and it is realistic then there is no reason why you cannot achieve this. 

* Plan ahead.
It is no good starting a budget half way through your festive purchasing. It is a good idea to plan your budget early on, even if this does seem like a long way from Christmas. Planning ahead will mean that your head is clear; you are not being influenced by all the advertisements in the media, and you will also have time to raise the money you need for that time. Also, if you plan ahead it may mean that you can save money if you purchase things in advance when they are on sale.

* Be realistic.
Think about what it is that you will be spending money on, and be realistic about how much money to assign to each area. It is not going to be helpful if you try to stick to a budget which is so strict that it means you cannot achieve what you want it to. It will also not be helpful if you assign so much money that in reality you will be struggling to find the funds. Think about how much you can earn between now and when the items need to be bought, and whether it is realistic enough to have certain figures written down. 

* Make lists.
Plan where you will be spending money, break them into categories and make lists. It is a good idea to think about all avenues such as presents you are thinking of buying, the decorations and home improvements that you are hoping to achieve, how many visits to various relatives are you expecting and then you can look into these areas closely.

* Think.
When you have your lists in front of you think about each area carefully. Could you cut back on how many relatives you see? Could you make seeing them cheaper by perhaps agreeing to meet half way or by combining several visits as one? How much money are you willing to spend on entertaining and does this amount of money mean you will have to re-think your social plans? Instead of panicking that there isn’t enough money to go round and that your budget is too small, remain calm and think of solutions.

* Solutions.
As mentioned above there are various solutions which will help your budget to seem less daunting. Perhaps there are family members for whom you could not buy gifts this year. Perhaps you could save money on your budget by making gifts for various people instead of spending more in the stores. Try combining social activities so it cuts down on petrol or meal out costs. There are often many solutions and once you see these it will help your budgeting plans.

* Do not stray.
Once you have created your budget, stick to it. Once you stray and begin to spend too much in one area it can be very difficult to get your budget back on track. Do not be sucked in by the beautiful displays in shops or tempting offers. If it isn’t on your list, and if it doesn’t fit in with your budget, turn a blind eye and be proud that you are being strong and ensuring your budget is working for you.

Budgeting does not have to be difficult. If you assign time in advance of Christmas to sit down and really think about how much you can spend, and what areas it is going in, then you will be able to find solutions about how you can afford to make Christmas just as special without breaking your budget plans.