Money Bite-Size Read:
- Christmas is a time of excess and gift giving.
- This pressure to spend can push us to ditch our financial goals.
- Here’s how I still enjoy Christmas despite being on a budget and avoid going into debt over the holidays.
The Money Bites Take:
By sticking to a budget over Christmas, you’ll enjoy the season and end it without a holiday debt hangover.
Do you know how much you spent on Christmas presents last year?
1 July is an opportunity to start fresh with new financial habits.
In Australia, one in three of us feel pressure to spend more than we can afford, with 65% reporting extra financial strain. Part of this is marketing and feeling like we need to keep up with others in how much we spend each December.
Christmas should be a time of spending time with those you love rather than worrying about the presents you’ll give them. That’s why I feel happier with a budget in place because it puts clear boundaries on my spending, removing the season’s spending pressure.
Here’s how I still enjoy Christmas despite being on a budget:
1. I experiment with my Christmas gift-giving
It’s easy to get carried away when buying Christmas presents, with millennials spending up to $1,000 on gifts. That’s why I calculate both the total spending budget and the number of presents I need to buy.
When you have many people to buy presents for budget Christmas gifts or running a Secret Santa or Kris Kringle can be helpful to cut down on your costs. You can also buy gifts early in the Black Friday sales to take advantage of these discounts.
2. When it comes to food, I split costs among the guests
One of the biggest costs of Christmas is hosting the main Christmas dinner event. Often there will be many similar meals during the holiday season, which quickly adds up when the guest list grows longer.
I plan out a meal in advance and identify how much it will cost to stick to my budget. I then shop around different supermarkets to cut down on my total grocery bill. I also ask guests to bring a particular dish to split up the time and financial costs of cooking large meals among those attending.
3. I budget for travel months ahead of Christmas
Like many people, I need to travel each Christmas to see different family members. These costs can quickly add up, particularly if you need to travel across large distances.
I cut down on my Christmas travel costs by arranging plans with family members in advance. I rotate travel plans each year to see different people and cut down on travel costs. I also buy tickets months ahead of Christmas to take advantage of early bird ticket prices.
Having a budget for Christmas means I enjoy the holiday season more.
It involves more pre-planning but will save you from a holiday debt hangover. Putting a budget in place and looking to save money at Christmas means you’ll enjoy time with loved ones and be closer to achieving your financial goals.