Too soon for a Christmas post? Maybe – but Christmas should never sneak up on you as it comes around every year and failing to prepare for it is not very frugal. This post will help you lay out your budget for Christmas so you have no nasty surprises come December.
Ideally you should start in January however the next best time is right now – especially if you have a tight budget like most of us.
Set Your Overall Budget for Christmas
Setting your budget will do three things for you:
It will help you not overspend on someone.
It will also help you plan throughout the year of how much to put aside.
And it will make you really consider if a gift is perfect because you can’t just buy any old thing.
Your budget should be the maximum you will spend on someone. As an example, your list may look something like this:
Then I always round my number up to the nearest £100 to account as a safety net. You might just forget someone or have a last minute Christmas expense so putting away £400 over £350 for this example will give you a small buffer.
Of course if you have a partner, you list may be twice as long but you’ll have two incomes to work with. We always set our budget then nominate people to buy for each for that price. So even though it’s ‘his’ Nan, I will nominate to go buy her something and he might take my brother.
Additional Optional Expenses
So far we’ve just focused on presents but if you have an additional cost then add that on. Ideas include:
Food for hosting Christmas dinner
Petrol or train fair for a far away celebration
Postage for present sent abroad
Secret santa present
NYE celebrations (if you know they’re going to cost more this year!)
Set Your Monthly Budget for Christmas
Once you have your top budget for all things Christmas, we need to divide your top budget cost by how many months are left until November. The reason I say November over December is because some peoples (mine included) December pay is only a few days before Christmas and the last thing I want to do is shopping that week. If you can condense it to October then even better!
Depending on your top budget, these are the monthly goals to save in time for Christmas:
For our £400 example, you would need to put aside £67 minimum each month to reach that goal. £67 a month sounds a hell of a lot better than spending £400 out of your November pay to buy all presents.
So all you have to do it just make sure you save that amount – that’s it. If you find your monthly payments too much, consider revisiting your first budget per person and narrow it down with homemade gifts, regifting or agreeing to spend less on each other.