November is over, so we have officially kicked off the holiday season! The countdown to Christmas is on and many of us will be heading out to do some Christmas shopping and visiting.
It can be easy for your Christmas budget to get out of control and be left with a large credit card balance to pay off in the new year.
However, by planning ahead, you can truly enjoy the holidays and enter the New Year without the guilt!
So, here are a few budget tips to help you stick to your Christmas budget and make the most of your money.
1. Christmas Presents
Try to not go overboard with buying Christmas presents this year. Hopefully you already have some money set aside for Christmas.
However, if don’t have any Christmas savings, just make sure you budget those gifts into this month’s budget. Otherwise, you will be stuck paying off the credit cards next year – which is not ideal.
You can agree with friends not to buy gifts and instead go out and celebrate together or take part in a secret Santa.
Even if you have some money saved, it might be a good idea to have a little “cushion” set aside for those unexpected expenses, last-minute gifts, or parties you are invited to.
Related: 9 Smart Ways to Save on Christmas Presents
2. Christmas Decorations
When it comes to your Christmas budget, it’s okay to spend some cash on decorations so you can spread some holiday cheer!
Luckily, making your home look and feel festive doesn’t have to cost you a fortune if you start planning.
Save by making some of your own Christmas decorations and invest in some quality, timeless, decorations you can use for many years instead of buying new ones every year.
3. Extra Groceries
Odds are you’ll eat more or have some extra mouths to feed in your house at some point this month.
Whether it’s relatives crashing in your guest room, friends dropping by or kids that are on holiday break, you’ll likely need to buy more groceries than normal.
Food prices are rising, and supermarkets can be roguish in their ways of getting us to part with our cash but with a bit of nous and imagination, it’s possible to save money on food without going hungry.
You can save money on groceries on your Christmas budget by simply buying in bulk on staples such as rice, pasta, cereals, tins and household essentials, batch cooking, shopping at night, where you can sometimes bag up to 75% off food and freeze almost anything, from chocolate to cheese and bread to pizzas.
Related: 5 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Food
Many of us will be travelling up and down the country, or further abroad, to see family and friends at Christmas and those travel expenses can really stack up.
Heading out of town for Christmas? Travel can add up fast. Book NOW – if you haven’t, so you don’t have to worry about the high travel costs. Don’t let financial stress ruin your time away with family.
5. Activities with Friends and Family
There are so many things to do with family and friends over the festive season.
It’s hard to say if pictures with Santa or the Christmas events will happen, but odds are you’ll find yourself spending some extra cash on Christmas events or outings.
These activities can be a great way to connect with loved ones and create lasting memories. If you can’t find extra cash to put towards these on your Christmas budget, try finding some free activities you can enjoy.
Related: Meaningful Alternatives to Christmas Gifts
6. Christmas Cards
This always seems to be more expensive than we plan. Don’t forget the cost of the cards, stamps, and any photos you want to add to your Christmas budget.
If your budget is tight this year or you’d like to cut this from your budget, consider sending an e-card!
Emailing an e-card, video, family picture or annual Christmas letter out to your family and friends won’t cost you anything plus it’s fun!
7. Wrapping Paper
I love wrapping presents, and tend to gravitate toward the nicer wrapping paper, so it doesn’t rip as easily.
Before you add this to your Christmas budget, look around your house to see if you have some old ones lurking around.
If you still have last year’s paper, reuse that and save some £££ this year!
One of the best ways to save on Christmas wrapping paper is to is to head out after Christmas to for some great Christmas deals.
You can even find wrapping papers for up to 75% off the original price.
Don’t let this month leave you with a financial hangover. January is usually the most expensive month and having a Christmas spending hangover isn’t a healthy way to start a New Year.