From a financial perspective, Christmas can be an extremely expensive time and if we’re not very careful the season of good will, will put us in debt for the next six months or more.
Managing Your Money at Christmas
Therefore, managing your money becomes even more important at Christmas time since it has the potential to damage your financial health for most of the coming year. (You’re not still paying for last Christmas are you?)
Everyone Wants Your Cash
There’s just so much stuff to pay out for and it’s not just gifts! From decorations, luxury food and cards to new clothes, travel expenses and work parties, much of which we don’t budget for. We’re expected to buy presents at great expense for all of our nearest and dearest, leave tips for the dustmen, postman and window cleaner and have a good stash of booze in the drinks cabinet for any passing visitors , it just seems never ending!
So what can you do to limit the financial damage that Christmas can have on your bank balance? Managing your money at Christmas requires two main things:
1. A small amount of time
2. Work with the budget you have (not the one you wish you had!)
Budgeting for Christmas Money Management
The very first thing to do is create a budget sheet to find out what you can actually afford to spend and stick with it! It should take you no more than an hour to sit down and work out what money you have available for Christmas. First write down all of your normal monthly outgoings such as mortgage, groceries, utility bills, phone, TV, travel expenses, insurances, etc. and add them up.
In a separate column write down all the ordinary money you have coming in for that month , so wages, any benefits (such as child benefit or tax credits), rent from lodgers, any money you have saved for Christmas etc. Do this for the months November, December and January and promise yourself that you will not be paying for Christmas after January!
Being Off Work Saves You Money
Now comes the important bit: add to your incoming column any Christmas bonuses you will receive and any savings you might make because you are not at work (yes it’s often cheaper to be at home than at work!). Because you are off for a week or two, you might well be saving on travel expenses and parking fees. You might also save on paying out for lunches and coffees every day. Add all these savings to your income for the month(s); subtract the figure for your income from your outgoings and voila , this is what you have to spend. Take a bit from January if you must, but make a commitment to pay that off in January!
Managing your money at Christmas does take a little thought and effort, but by using just one hour wisely you can save yourself a lot of money and a lot of financial pressure in the new year.