Budgeting for Christmas
Budgeting is about money, and it isn’t. It’s more so about choices. And, priorities. So, with Christmas approaching so quickly how can we get our choices and priorities in check to make this a festive time that we really enjoy? Here’s our tips so you don’t break the bank this Christmas.
1. Decide what’s important
Finances are (usually) limited so we want to work out what’s in, and what’s out. Sure, Christmas themed pajamas for the Christmas eve screening of Love Actually are fun but will you actually love still paying them off in March? Think of everything possible that will come up in relation to Christmas – gifts, events, holidays, special meals etc. and consciously choose what you want to invest in, and what you are happy to skip (or skimp) on. It’s good to think of this in terms of your financial resources as well as your time because that’s limited as well. You want to make it through Christmas still in a good financial position so it’s important to be clear on exactly how much you have to spend and stick to that like you commit to your morning caffeine. It’s as simple as: My available spending for December is $....
2. Chat about options
Sometimes it is good to have a pre-Christmas chat because it can all get a little crazy. Gifts for family, gifts for friends, parties and events, it all costs money. Don’t be afraid to prompt some conversations about money because what’s on your mind could be on everyone’s mind. Proposing things like a secret Santa approach to gift giving or skipping gifts and instead planning time away together or a special day can be a new approach to celebrating the festive season without feeling financially overwhelmed by commitments. Use your finances to create memories rather than just fill our lives with more ‘things’.
3. Preparation is everything
It pays to be organised so start your Christmas preparation today. A list will save you. Put it all down (in your diary or on your phone – just something you access regularly) and work through it. If you’re not organised then chances are you’ll be in the closest shop on Christmas Eve searching for a token gift for great aunt Jane and end up spending twice as much because you’re restricted in options and overcompensating for your lack of planning.
4. Presentation is (also) everything
Personalised gifts deliver more impact because the receiver sees how much effort you went into creating whatever it is. Don’t underestimate little gestures like homemade cookies or framed pictures to show your love. The more personalised the better and the sooner you start the better because sometimes more thought often means a longer lead time. It’s also about how you present it. Go all out on your ‘why’ so they can see why this gift is perfect for them and how you’ve invested in creating something just for them. The packaging and card should also reflect your love and care. “Dear Aunt Jane, I know you love old movies and I saw that there is a screening of Breakfast at Tiffanys in January, so I’ve bought us tickets so we can go see it together. Save the Date 12thJan 6pm xo”. Tears when they read the well-thought-out and beautifully presented card? You know you’ve just lifted your gift-giving game. You also know the beautiful thing about personalised gifts? Effort is valued so much more than money.
Decide what you want to do so you have the time and money available to do the most important things because Christmas is about spending money, and it isn’t. It can be about time with loved ones, nature and time to invest in interests. If all else, embracing the Christmas day leftovers is a great money saver.
This article was originally written for An Organised Life