When we’re younger, Christmas might feel like the most wonderful time of the year – where food is plentiful, family are around, and presents lie in wait under the Christmas tree!
However, as we get older, Christmas can become a stressful time – where providing for regular payments as well as buying gifts and food for friends and family can place strain on your budget, as well as your financial goals and plans.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to bring the joy back into the festive season and make your Christmas one to remember - all the while having fun on a budget and staying true to your budgeting and savings goals.
Make a defined budget
The first step to managing Christmas – or any special occasion on your calendar – is to make sure that you budget for your expenses.
Christmas can be a difficult time when choosing gifts or even deciding what to eat, as our wish to spoil the people we love can often see us ignore our budget or financial situation entirely.
The best gift you can give your loved ones is to keep on track to reach your financial goals, and to cultivate healthy savings habits. By setting up a monthly budget and setting spending amounts, you can ensure that you can both give your loved ones the gift they deserve and keep to a budget that satisfies your needs. You could even try the 52-week savings challenge and prepare a year in advance!
If you’re ready to get started, why not download our monthly planner?
Use discounts and yearly sales to purchase gifts
While for most of us the festive season might only start in December, there’s plenty of time to choose the right gift for your loved ones – and the best sales and yearly discounts, such as Black Friday, which often happen long before Christmas comes around the corner!
By keeping a monthly budget for gifts and other purchases, you can keep your eyes peeled throughout the year for discounts or sales offering items that you might like to pass on as a gift. Often, many stores and retailers offer mid-year discounts as they prepare to store new stock for the end of the year – making this a great time to prepare for Christmas in advance.
Remember, however – when you buy an item on a discount, you aren’t saving money; you’re simply spending less. Keep that in mind when preparing your budget, and remember that no matter what you buy, you’re still making a purchase.
Do a gift exchange
If you have a big family, knowing that you need to purchase a gift for every family member can be a very stressful task. However, gifts come in many shapes and sizes!
To keep within your budget, consider making small donations to charity in a family member’s names, having a ‘kids-friendly Christmas’ where only children receive gifts, or – better yet – by doing a gift exchange!
In a gift exchange, each person in a group buys one gift for another person – meaning that while everyone receives one present, every person only needs to buy one as well. This can be a great way to keep the festive spirit alive, and also stick to your spending limits!
Why not try a potluck?
A potluck can be a helpful way to minimise costs for most occasions. The idea behind a potluck is that every person, or each household, organises and brings a meal to the intended celebration.
Since Christmas can be a very costly time of year, this could be a convenient option that relieves some of the financial stress from your life. Make a list of who will be attending and communicate amongst the different households as to who should be bringing what. It’s important to have this discussion in order to avoid having double of something and nothing of another.