Christmas is a time when it is so easy to go overboard with your spending, so a Christmas budget will help you keep your spending in check.
First off, you want to write up a list of your expenses. Not just for Christmas but for the entire month, a good way to do this is to get out your bank statement and record all of your payments and other expense items.
Allow for extra expenses for your child at school, for your babysitter and even for yourself at work. Just in case you have a Christmas lunch to attend. Unexpected costs can crop up at any time, and Christmas is notorious for this.
It is actually better to over budget for something, any money left over can be put back into the bank.
Type up your budget and save it onto a spreadsheet, this way you are more likely to use your Christmas budget. You can download budget templates online and they can be used throughout the year, not just at Christmas time. A formal budget will allow you to track your spending habits and keep you in control of your money.
Set a spending limit for your Christmas budget. How much can you truly afford to spend? Allocate enough money to pay your monthly expenses and see what you have left. Then divide this between how many people you have to buy for. Now you know what you can comfortably spend on each person.
If you don’t have enough money, is there someone that doesn’t really need a gift. Possibly a distant relative who would be happy with a gift card or Christmas wish recorded on a DVD. You will have to be strong willed enough to make cuts where necessary.
If you need to cut back, try to cut back on areas such as Christmas cards, can you send email cards instead? You can actually get a year’s subscription to an e-card service very cheaply. Then you have cards all year long. By sticking to your budget, you will learn to be creative in some areas. But this is the only way to stay on track and not end up with huge bills in January.
Keep track of your spending in your spreadsheet, enter your receipts weekly if not daily. This way you are controlling your cash each week and will easily tell if you have overspent or not. By getting the whole family on track with your Christmas budget you can teach your children how to have a wonderful Christmas without spending thousands of dollars.
Once you appreciate how valuable your Christmas budget was, you will be creating budgets for different occasions all year long.