The festive season is here and it’s not called the silly season for nothing. It’s the time of year where we seem to throw our budgets out the window and spend, spend and spend, but just because it is the season of giving, it doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget.
There is a lot of pressure to spend money over the season on amazing gifts, but you can still treat your friends and family without draining your bank account and you can stay in budget.
How to Budget for the Festive Season
Setting the Budget
The first thing that you need to do is to create a budget. You will need to figure out what you are able to afford and work out who you need to get gifts for, so you can spread the amount you can spend.
The perfect situation would be to save up throughout the year, but it’s never too late to figure something out. You could consider taking a cash loan over the festive season, but you need to be sure that you are able to pay the loan back.
Another thing you could do is to look at your spending patterns and see what you can save for gifts. You may see that you can temporarily cut down on things so that you can increase the amount of spending on gifts.
Set a solid number for yourself, so you have a hard limit and work within this limit to make the holiday season slightly easier. You do not want to end up in debt just because of Christmas.
Limit Your Spending
The easiest way to make sure you stay within your budget is to limit how much you spend on gifts.
These limits can be set in a number of ways, for instance, you can have a limit per family, per couple or per individual.
You should see what you can afford and go from there.
Making a List
Once you have your limits set for everyone you need to buy for, it helps to create a list of gifts and the amount that they cost, so you know you are sticking to your limits.
You need to be specific about what they want or what you think they would like and what it will cost. If you then see something awesome that uses the whole budget for your partner let’s say, then you know that is all they will be getting.
It will also help to keep you organised, which comes in handy when you are out shopping and are overwhelmed by sales or when you receive an email informing you of a special deal.
The easiest way to stick to your budget and spending limits is to get a gift card or to give the exact amount of cash, but these can be seen as impersonal.
There are still great tips to know…so keep reading…
The 4 Gift Rules
The 4 gift rule is popular with parents for kids, but you can use it for anyone.
The key is to get something:
- They want
- They need
- They can wear
- They can read
That is, it. You can use this rule with your spending limits and it also puts a limit on how many gifts you can buy, which will help you to focus when shopping.
The rule is practical and stops you from buying gifts just for the sake of buying them. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a jolly Christmas, so forget the pressures and just keep it simple.
Focusing on these four areas will create less stress year after year.
What About a Gift Exchange?
This is a great idea for those that have huge families, because your spending can easily get out of hand if you have lots of people to buy for. So, instead of spending a fortune on individual gifts, why not suggest a gift exchange.
A gift exchange is where each person from the family just brings one gift valued at a certain amount and you do a type of lucky dip.
This can work with friends, at work, your immediate family and of course your extended family.
Try a Giftless Holiday Experience
Many people get caught up with the buying and spending over the holidays and they forget actually what the holidays are all about, which is to spend time with loved ones.
A giftless holiday experience is not a popular option, but there are some that celebrate the holidays by spending time rather than money.
You can still get into the holiday spirit by perhaps volunteering or donating to a charity during the holidays.
The idea here is to create new holiday traditions that aren’t focused on presents. You and your family can just get together and enjoy a meal, play games or watch a movie. There is nothing wrong with doing something different for Christmas.
Go Down the DIY Road
If your family is not keen on the giftless or fewer gifts option, then you can save money by making presents yourself. Presents that you have made are more thoughtful and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a nice present.
You can create cards, decorations, write a poem, retell a favourite story, knit blankets, scarves or gloves, make your own soap, bake treats and create goodie baskets and so much more.
If you are thinking about getting crafty and making presents then it is a good idea to stick to one idea so you can buy the materials in bulk and save money.
Budgets over the holiday season may seem restrictive, but it is a tool to help you to not blow all of your money and maybe end up in debt. You don’t want to stress about your credit card bill over this time. If you take a cash loan, don’t take more than you can afford, so you know you can pay it back.
Your loved ones will understand that you don’t want to spend more than you have and that it’s not what Christmas is about. Focus on spending time with your loved ones and appreciate the moments with them and they will be grateful and appreciate your thoughts behind your actions.