I know, I know, it’s September, it’s horrifying that there are already Mince Pies in the supermarket. However, one thing I cannot recommend enough is to start budgeting for Christmas now. Actually I’d recommend budgeting for Christmas all year round to avoid a skint January and February but if you haven’t done so yet, it will still help to start thinking about it now!
Now, lots of people will think I sound like a massive misery now but the reality is that Christmas is just one day of the year. It’s never worth getting into serious debt in order to buy the most expensive presents for everyone in your life.
Christmas comes but once a year but it does come every single year and it is more than possible (and frighteningly easy) to get into serious cumulative debt every year to try and have the “perfect” Christmas.
Call me old fashioned but I think Christmas should be about time spent with loved ones not who spent the most money on whom.
To this end I’ve devised a Christmas budget spreadsheet.
You can download it here. There are full instructions on the first sheet and different sheets for different festive expenditure. Use it, see if you can afford your planned Christmas now and adjust if necessary. Be totally honest about how much you’re likely to spend at Christmas parties (i.e. if, like me, you work in Publishing don’t budget £10 for drinks at the Christmas party! You know you’ll be spending potentially three times as much so be honest!)
If after doing this you realise that you can’t afford to buy everyone in your extended family a present, consider DIY gifts that you can make that keep you within an affordable budget. I made Chilli Jam for my extended family a few years ago for less than £3 a jar, which was good since my Mum is the youngest of ten!
I will be posting a DIY gifts series in the run up to Christmas but you can start planning now. The other thing I do all year round is pin gifts to my Pinterest Gift board that I can look at before people’s birthdays and Christmas to plan things I could make for them.
Be creative with your planning this year and avoid the January money blues!
For more great ideas on how to save for Christmas or any other finance advise check out Martin Lewis’ website: www.moneysavingexpert.com