How to Do Christmas on a Budget

Planning a Christmas budget means thinking ahead. This is because Christmas – especially hosting Christmas for friends and family – will inevitably involve more expenditure than at other times of the year. Many people find that the best way to plan their Christmas expenditure is to save for a few months before. After enjoying your summer holiday, try to get into the habit of setting aside a set amount each month throughout the autumn. This way, you will know how much of a budget you have to play with. This is certainly a better way to plan for the financial side of Christmas compared to running up debt by taking out a personal loan or spending on your credit card.

What are the main things to take into consideration when planning your Christmas budget?

Factors to Consider When Planning Christmas Expenditure

To begin with, consider accepting an invitation from someone else you know who is hosting Christmas this year. Some families get into the habit of routinely hosting Christmas Day for friends and family. It is much, much cheaper to accept the invitation of another and to enjoy their hospitality instead. After all, you can always host Christmas again next year.

With your budget set from your savings, work out a rough financial plan. Allocate about a third of your budget for presents and a third for food and drinks. The other third will need to be set aside as a contingency. This will cover any overspend in the first two areas as well as going toward the other hidden costs of Christmas, such as a larger than usual heating bill.

Inviting guests to your home is a big part of many families Christmas traditions. It is easy to see why because it is a time of coming together. However, this does not mean you need to invite everyone you know for Christmas lunch or to stay over. Consider the number of guests you will host carefully. Some people may well have other invitations so they won’t be left on their own. Remember that you can always invite some people over for Christmas morning to raise a toast and to exchange gifts while others might be invited to stay for longer. In short, the fewer guests you have, the further your Christmas budget will go.

Items to Focus on to Stay on Track With a Christmas Budget

If you want to enjoy a thrifty festive season and to stretch your Christmas budget as far as possible, then focus on the big-ticket items.

  • Purchase gifts that fall within your allowance. If one person’s gift costs a little more, then cut back on someone else’s. It is not about spending the same amount but the thought that goes into the present, after all.
  • Among other food budgeting ideas, choose your meat wisely. Often the centrepiece of Christmas dinner, traditional meats like turkeys and geese are more expensive in December. Why not buy a frozen bird earlier in the year or opt for a vegetarian alternative instead for a change?
  • Buy wine on discount. If you plan to serve wine to your guests, then look for offers in the run-up to Christmas. Discounted wine won’t go bad if you buy it in October or November and store it until the big day.
  • Ask guests to make a contribution. Few people will mind bringing along mince pies or even a Christmas pudding to help you stay on budget. Just give your guests advance notice so that they can buy wisely, too.

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