Are you feeling jolly yet? Have the Christmas lights started springing up in the neighbourhood? If so, remember that it’s a bit like the movie Groundhog Day: the past gets easier and more amusing each time it’s repeated. Here are three Christmas budgeting ideas for cutting out unnecessary expenses and saving money during the festive period.
Write a Budget & Stick To It
I know this one may have been said before, but I can’t recommend a budget highly enough—whether on paper or via an app. Compare the amount you want to spend versus last month’s amount actually spent – the difference may shock you.
By writing a budget, not only will you feel more in control of your finances, but you will see what you have a tendency to spend a lot on.
If you aim for an amount to save, rather than focusing on how much you plan to spend, you may be more motivated to stick to your savings plan.
One technique is withdrawing cash amounts of the funds you plan to spend at the beginning of each week, rather than using your debit card or putting the money you want to save straight into a savings account.
A final tip on budgeting; try to resist the urge to use credit cards and live within your means, instead.
Eat In Rather Than Dining Out
This one doesn’t require much explanation, does it? Money spent on restaurants and pre-prepared foods is probably one of the easiest things to spend. Next time you are tempted to get lunch or dinner out, remember how you could put those funds towards the perfect gift for a loved one or how you could treat yourself to a new dress for the Christmas party.
An added bonus is you’ll be less likely to gain weight during the Christmas period if you cook at home: this will allow you to look more slender when visiting your family, which will prevent your mother from making snide comments about your appearance; this, in turn, will make holiday gatherings more tolerable. See? It’s all connected.
Make & Bake Your Gifts
The holidays signal the beginning of cold, wet weather, practically begging us to bundle up and bake a batch of cookies. If you’re unsure of what to buy your friends, nobody ever objected to a few baked goods as a Christmas gift.
If you aren’t sure that’s enough gift-wise, you can always start with edibles as the baseline for what you give everyone, then perhaps add small presents to the bundle for your closest friends and family members. Try ginger cookies, fudge, brownies, a slice of pecan pie, and—for something different—throw in some no-bake cookie truffles! The great thing about baking your presents is you won’t feel as much stress about choosing the wrong type of gift.
Remember, the holidays are about friends, family, and love, so don’t stress about money! Hopefully these budgeting ideas will help you remember what’s important and temporarily forget about what’s in your wallet!