Christmas is rapidly approaching. It can be a great time of year for many people – particularly the kids. Of course, if you wish to make your kids happy, it is all too easy to ignore the cost. This is undoubtedly the case in these times of easy finance and credit cards. So how’s your Christmas budgeting going?
If you are anything like my ex-wife, you will have completed your Christmas sho[ppong long ago. But if you’re like me, you will still be rushing to buy those last minute presents – or even to start the whole shopping process.
The problem is that it is so easy to splurge now when you don’t have to worry about paying for everything. It is not so easy in mid-January when the bills start to arrive. It is then that most people begin to wish they were better at Christmas budgeting.
The Importance of Planning for Christmas or Other Important Holidays
One of the critical requirements for improving your life is being able to pay your bills.
I know from personal experience the problems of not being able to do this. My life fell apart five years ago, and as a result, I ended up with a considerable amount of unpaid debt. Much of it was “valid debt” (in the sense that it was budgeted for and affordable on my former income). But there was still far too much “crap” debt for things booked up on my credit cards or hire purchase. Probably most of the stuff I bought doesn’t even exist now.
If you celebrate Christmas (or another holiday if you practise a different religion), then it is essential that you put aside a sum of money for it each year. The amount you set apart will depend on your total yearly budget, along with the value you give to the occasion.
Once you know how much money you can allocate to the holiday, you can then go about your Christmas budgeting – deciding how much you are going to spend on presents, food, travel, or anything else you consider essential.
You probably won’t want to spend the same amount for presents on everybody – your gifts to your kids will likely be worth more than you give Uncle Jim, for instance. But you can at least give your self a general guide of the most you can afford to spend on everybody you care for.
If you have kids, you will at least have a ballpark figure of how much you intend to spend on them. That way you can direct their thoughts as they prepare Christmas lists, so they don’t get their hopes up for something that will be well outside your budgeted range.
Christmas Budgeting Can Help You Avoid Impulse Shopping
One of the significant advantages of planning your Christmas spending is that it helps focus your mind better. You are far less likely to be sucked in by ads that implore you to “save money” by buying these items “on special”.
Some organised people manage to budget themselves money to spend in the Boxing Day sales on items for next Christmas. You won’t buy anything perishable (or tempting) a year in advance, but if you need to buy a new Christmas Tree or decorations, it makes sense to buy them at the time of year when they are cheapest.
Get Prepared for Next Christmas
It is probably too late to do your Christmas budgeting for this year. But it is an excellent time to start thinking about next Christmas.
Alright, if you’ve gone mad with the credit card you may have to pay that off first. But it is a good idea to decide how much you can spend for next Christmas and start putting a little each week aside towards it. That way, you won’t have that horrible credit card surprise next time around.