HOW TO BUDGET FOR CHRISTMAS THE EASY WAY!
There is a lot more to a Christmas’ budget than just gifts.
You need a Christmas budget if you want to know where your money is going and avoid overspending.
You don’t want to start January with a huge credit card bill, do you?
So today I will show you how to budget and save for Christmas the easy way!
Some people love Christmas and they go all out during that holiday season.
They will buy amazing decor, have nice parties, beautiful food, lots and lots of gifts.
If this is you, awesome!
With my V.I.P financial method I teach you how to spend money on what brings you the most joy and do it without debt nor feeling guilty. The Fun Money Habits website is all about creating a solid financial foundation and living an abundant life debt-free.
Make sure you read my previous blog on how to save money this Christmas here.
There, I highlight several important money habits and questions you should consider when planning Christmas.
Why do you need a Christmas budget?
The goal of creating your budget is to give you an idea of how much money you will need to save this coming Christmas.
Depending on your wallet, the budget can be as big or as small as you want.
It is your money, your life, you decide what you want to do with it, and having a budget will empower you to do just that.
It will help you be in control of your finances by taking aligned and mindful decisions.
Your Christmas budget should be made of 5 main categories:
How do you set your budget amount?
Well there are 2 ways to go about it and again it will depend on your finances at the time.
1- You can set your budget amount before you start writing your list or identifying all the different purchases.
This way you determine what you can afford before you even start planning.
For example, you may say this year, I only want to spend $600 at Christmas.
Then you will allocate that money between the 5 main categories.
2- You complete the budget checklist and add up the total amount for the five categories. That total amount you will get is your Christmas budget.
Now, be careful that you don’t think too big and overcommit here.
Remember you need to save that amount of money on time for Christmas as you don’t want to accumulate any debt.
You may have to cut a few things if the amount you come up with is not realistic for your current financial situation. So plan and budget wisely.
Once you have your budget, you can start saving.
I recommend opening a high-yield saving account named Christmas fund or something exciting to keep you motivated.
You can start saving as early as January or 4 months before Christmas.
Then, you will need to make sure you track your expenses as you go so you don’t overspend.
You can download the FREE BUDGET FOR CHRISTMAS PLANNER here
It will help you plan, budget, save and track your Christmas spending.
Let’s have a look at the five categories in detail, plus some apps to help you stack some savings.
How do you create a simple travel budget for Christmas?
If you love to travel at Christmas, you need to be organised to get the best deals and save some money.
I love travelling at Christmas. I went to Disneyland on Christmas’ day, it was so magical.
I also did the Strasbourg and Colmar Christmas markets in France.
Those holidays cost a lot of money and I needed to plan and save money for them months in advance.
With Covid this year however, I don’t think there will be much overseas travel but if you are visiting family and friends you still need to budget for it.
What should be included in your travel budget?
Transportation (flights, train, rental car, petrol…)
Accommodation (hotels, Airbnb...)
Activities (city pass, show tickets…)
Insurance (medical and travel, don’t forget this one)
Food (if you are overseas, you need a daily food budget)
Here are some Apps to help you get some money back or save money on fuel.
GetUpside will give you cash back on grocery stores, restaurants but best used at gas stations (Make sure you check which gas stations are part of the program).
Fuelmap will help you find the best price near you.
In New Zealand:
Gaspy will help you find the best price near you.
How do you budget for food at Christmas?
Time to plan your Christmas and Boxing Day menu (usually leftovers for us).
In this category you need to include:
Ingredients for the 2-day menu
Items you need for your table (paper plates, napkins….)
Some people may plan New Year’s dinner here too. That is up to you!
Are you a foodie like me?
Here is a video for 3 healthyish no bake holiday desserts
Three months before Christmas, I start to think about what I would like to have for Christmas and Boxing Day.
I write a quick list of the drinks, desserts, main dishes and salad ingredients so that I can slowly start adding the non-perishable ingredients to my weekly shopping list comes mid October.
This way, I don’t blow up my food budget the week of Christmas as I have already purchased most of what I wanted during the past 3 months leading to Christmas.
Plus, I avoid the crowded supermarket and craziness of the holiday season.
That tip is a really great way to not feel overwhelmed and stay on budget.
Christmas is supposed to be fun. But we make it so hard by waiting until the last minute to do things. Done! Get organised now!
Now you can spend a lot of money on food so be wise with your spending.
Plus make sure you download those apps so you can earn some cash back as well.
Fetch Rewards (redeem grocery receipts for various gift cards)
Coupons.com (link your loyalty store card to the app and get discount and store coupons)
Half price app (find Half price food at Woolworths and Coles. The data is updated on Wednesday I believe).
For New Zealand, there are no apps but if you register for a loyalty card at your favorite shop, like Countdown or New World and after a certain amount of points earned you get a coupon like $15 off.
How do you want your house and tree to look this year?
Time to get into the spirit of Christmas.
In America I have to say, your Christmas trees are just the best. The decorations, the lights. I am always blown away when my friends post pictures of their Christmas trees or their houses online.
But that also means that there is a lot of money spent on decorations.
For the decoration categories you need to include:
So if you know that you need to replace something or you want to add something new, make sure you add it to your shopping list and shop around to find the best price.
You may be wondering how do you decorate on a budget for Christmas
Pro tip: I usually buy new Christmas decorations and wrapping paper on Boxing Day, December 26th. Everything is half price or more. That is the best time to get a bargain and save money.
Do you really need to buy gifts this Christmas?
You need to learn to budget for Christmas gifts.
In this category, you need to list all the people you want to purchase a present for.
My free Christmas Budget download will give you a good outline on how to budget for that.
Have you read the 5 love languages?
Many people go into debt at Christmas but do you know that not all people feel loved when receiving a gift?
There are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch and receiving gifts.
My love language is acts of service and quality time.
So this Christmas, I would rather have you cook dinner for me or do the dishes and play a card game than receiving a present. You see what I mean.
If you haven’t heard about it, I have a 5 min video on my Instagram where I explain what they are and give you some ideas of presents. I did it for Valentine's day.
How much to spend on gifts per person?
For example, if you spend $30 on a gift for a child, you may want to spend $50+ for an adult. Now for you and your partner, you may want to spend about $100 for each other.
Again if you have Will Smith’s wallet, those figures will be irrelevant.
That is a very hard question to answer because we don’t have the same wallet.
You should be spending what feels right to you and your current financial situation.
We shouldn’t feel pressure to buy a gift at a certain price tag.
The person receiving the gift should be grateful for the thought, the resources and the time it took you.
If they are little complainers, well next year don’t bother buying anything.
This time, they will have a good reason to moan and will appreciate what they will get.
What is your Christmas gift budget?
Check out my last minute Christmas saving hacks for Christmas blog post.
Last but not least the Miscellaneous categories.
What should you include in the misc category?
Everything that we still need to buy for Christmas and that we often forget to budget for:
Postages (sending gifts overseas or cards)
Tags and tape
I have family overseas and when I am not a lazy girl, I will write a card.
Some people keep last year wrapping paper and bows so they can reuse it the following year. That is a good frugal hack.
This is how you budget for Christmas like a pro and with ease.
Once you have gone through the five categories, travel, food, decorations, gifts and misc, you will know how much money you need to save this Christmas.
Plus you will have a good picture of what will happen that day.
You need to create that budget if you want to stay in control of your finance this year.
This is a great and fun money habit to help you save money and start the New Year right.
When you plan in advance, you can actually see if you feel like you don’t want to do all that this year. It could be time for a change because you would rather use that money toward something else instead.
You are in charge of your money so you can decide how much you want to spend.
Don’t try to follow the Jones, stay in your line.
You don’t have to be a sheep and do what everybody else is doing.
We are a consumer society and it is really hard for us to stop buying because it is part of our culture. But what about this year you start a new money habit and do something outside the norm.
When we take the time to plan, we can reflect on what we do and be more mindful of our emotions about it.
Remember Christmas is only one day a year, so spend wisely and be grateful for what you have so you don’t chase after something you actually don’t need.
So this is how you create a Christmas budget!
Thank you and Merry Christmas.
Here are other blog posts that will help you save some money on Christmas.