I thought I would start by saying a big ‘Happy New Year’ to you all!
I had a lovely Christmas and I hope you did too.
I don’t make New Year resolutions as I never keep to them. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been determined to lose weight over the years and I’m still the same size and this just leads to disappointment! I now prefer to make a list of new things I fancy trying out, knowing that if it’s a bit of fun then I will be more likely to have a go and succeed.
Save and plan for Christmas 2014:
So many people find that January is the time of year when Christmas bills hit hard, as credit card statements drop through letter boxes and the real cost of Christmas hits home…but it really doesn’t have to be like this.
Christmas happens at the same time every year, on the 25th December….and yet some people seem generally surprised that they have ended up with high credit card bills, which they can’t pay in full in January. Yet with a bit of organisation, this can be avoided, together with the high interest charges that come hand in hand with unpaid credit card bills.
January is a good month to look at finances and start afresh, so today I’ve decided to talk about how the ‘Thrift’ household starts to budget for Christmas in January.
This is how we save for Christmas in the ‘Thrift’ household:
We have a list of everyone we will buy a present for next Christmas. We then work out how much we want to spend on each person and add this up. If this exceeds our total budget for Christmas spending, then we cut back on whom we buy presents for or how much we spend on each person.
When we are satisfied that our Christmas list doesn’t exceed our total Christmas present budget, we literally divide our total budget by twelve months and we save this amount in a savings account each month. The money goes into a savings account straight after my husband’s payday, this way the money doesn’t get spent on other things first.
If I see something over the year that is either in a sale or just something special for a particular person, then we now have the money to buy it and when January comes we don’t have any unexpected bills that we can’t pay….it’s as easy as that.
We also save for birthdays in the same way, except we now save twelve months in advance for them. This then gives us the money in January for the ‘whole years’ worth of birthdays for the family, which enables me to buy lots of things in the January sales. This is a great way to save money on presents or if you prefer, it means you can get a better present for the money you have budgeted for a particular person.
Incidentally, my birthday and Christmas list stays in my handbag, so it is at hand if I see a bargain. This way it really is easy to see who I need to buy presents for and how much I have budgeted for each person. This stops me from buying duplicate presents and overspending.
My Top Tips for Budgeting for Christmas 2014:
Consider making homemade gifts. I make gifts to put into family hampers e.g. jams, pickles, knitted dishcloths, mini Christmas cakes, etc. etc. These take time to make but are really lovely gifts to give and show a lot of thought. I always think homemade presents come from the heart rather than the bank account and I love to receive them. However these take time to plan, so now is the time to decide what you would like to grow or make. Don’t leave it all until December either, you have twelve months to prepare.
I have a separate monthly budget for food and I save a small amount of it every month to use in December. This way I can buy some Christmas ‘goodies’ to enjoy e.g. a turkey, nice cheeses etc. without worrying about the cost. I also use this money to buy the ingredients for my Christmas cakes, Christmas puddings etc. when they are on offer (for the last few years, Tesco has had a ‘3 for the price of 2’ offer on baking goods sometime around the end of October / early November, so this is when I stock up).
Don’t forget, if you buy your Christmas puddings and mincemeat (rather than making them yourself), buy them now if they are reduced at your local supermarket, as the best before dates are usually well over a year away.
And finally, I buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper in the sales now…Our local Tesco has some great bargains at the moment. I purchased five packs of silver tissue paper from there on Saturday for just 25p each (it was well over £1 each before Christmas). This will be enough for me to make lots of homemade crackers over the next few years.
I wonder if anyone else reading this has any other good ideas to budget for next Christmas? If so please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Friday at my usual time.