How To Set A Christmas Budget

How To Set A Christmas Budget

Welcome to the second day of 12 Thrifty Days of Christmas, today we’re looking at how to devise a Christmas budget. As with all budgets this really is a case of what is going in and what’s going out.

How to set a Christmas budget

Right, let’s get going. Grab that pen and paper, open up your online banking account or paper bank statement and work out exactly how much you can spend on Christmas this year, work out what the true cost of Christmas is going to be. Take into account anything you’ve already bought, made or organised. Do you need to cut back on areas of non-essential spending now? Start with a list of all your Christmas expenses, making sure to break it down in detail to include smaller items you might forget, mine includes:

Christmas Budget

Travel expenses
Gifts
Gift wrap
Cards
Postage
Charitable donations
Food
Drink
Stocking fillers
Table settings (napkins, crackers, table cloth etc.)
Decorations
Parties and events
Craft expenses
Extra strain on energy bills (with people at home more often and using more heating and tree lights etc.) The key is being honest with yourself. There is no point saying ‘I only spent £50 on Christmas this year’ if you used £200 of craft materials and forgot to include the price of stamps.

Here’s how we do it at Thrifty Towers:

If I’m honest this won’t be the most useful piece of information 6 weeks before Christmas but we save £20 per month throughout the year for Christmas and if we see a great deal on gifts and decorations etc. we will buy them and put them away until December. We keep a spreadsheet of everything we buy so nothing is forgotten and every penny is accounted for.

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Short term Christmas budgeting

In the run up to Christmas (about 6-8 weeks beforehand) we will buy a few extra food items per week with our weekly supermarket shop. For instance we spotted a great deal on after dinner mints which were less than 1/4 of their original price, so we stowed away a packet for home and another to take to a party to give to the host. We find adding a couple of food items to the trolley each week really takes the sting out of the December wage packet. It’s around this time that we’ll buy some of the fresh items on offer and add them to the freezer too. Supermarket reductions tend to work on a cycle so if the bacon you want to buy is on offer now, it’s likely it won’t be on offer again before Christmas.If you haven’t set aside anything just yet for Christmas do not panic!  Remember you don’t need everything in the glossy TV advertisements to have an amazing Christmas. Keep gifts small and personal, and remember Christmas dinner is essentially just a roast dinner and if  you’re clever you can spin that into many and varied leftovers!Be sure to only use what you have already set aside or what you have leftover from your day-to-day budget. Don’t ruin yourself for Christmas, it’s not fair on you or your family – after all there is no point having one or two really good days to have a miserable.

More thrifty posts:

Have you discussed your Christmas budget yet?

How to throw a budget friendly Christmas party

How to save money after Christmas

How to relax over Christmas