This month we are talking all things Christmas, and giving all kinds of tips on how to enjoy your Christmas holidays on a budget. Today we are dialling it back to basics and looking at the actual budget. How to make it, how to ensure it's accurate, and making it realistic.
Because a Christmas budget is only short term, a budget calculator is unlikely to be appropriate. Instead, complete these two simple steps to get a Christmas budget underway.
Step 1: Income
Work out what your income will be leading up to the Christmas period. Keep in mind that this might differ from your usual weekly income, depending on your job. If you work in retail, for example, you might have more shifts to accomodate the busy season. If you are in a corporate job, you may have forced holidays or choose to take annual leave.
Step 2: Determine expenses
Step two includes making some tough decisions about how much you want to put into Christmas this year. There are lots of details to consider, so start by taking note of the following:
- How many presents will you buy?
- What will you spend on each present?
- Do you have parties to attend, and will they require you to buy anything new?
- Are you hosting a Christmas party or meal?
- Will you decorate?
- Are you participating in Secret Santa at work?
- Are you planning on going away?
- Do you need to travel to see family?
Being thorough when listing all your expenses will save you from getting a nasty shock come Christmas time. We recommend overestimating if there are any expenses you are unsure about.
When you have everything down on paper, you will have a clear idea of how much you are working with this Christmas. To supplement your income, you may be able to pick up some extra work, or sell some items you no longer want or need. The most important aspect of Christmas budgeting is sticking to it as best you can. The unfortunate truth is that many Australians suffer financially in the new year due to overspending at Christmas time. Do you best to stay within your means this Christmas, and remember that the holiday can be enjoyed on a limited budget! There is no need for excessive and over-the-top decorations, extravagant gifts, or gigantic feasts.