Christmas is a time of celebration. It is also a time for expenses. You know that you are going to give gifts to your family, your friends and your coworkers. You may also have to prepare a special dinner or a party. It can put a strain on your budget if you do not prepare for it. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prepare for these expenses now.
Go Over Last Year’s Christmas Expenses
In order to have an idea of what your expenditures were last year, take another look at your bills last Christmas. What items did you buy? Include everything associated with it – cards, clothes, gifts, decorations, food, etc.
Determine Whether You Spent Appropriately or Not
Sometimes, you are so engaged in the activities of the Christmas season that you open your purse and pull out your money without thinking. Unfortunately, this is not a good habit, and can even put you in debt. After reviewing what your expenses are, determine whether such expenses are really necessary.
Prepare Your Budget
You now have the important items you bought last year, together with their costs. Be mindful that what was true last year may not be true this year; as there is annual inflation. What was valuable last year may also have lost its value this year. Take into account probable changes, then list them and their costs. Include them in your Christmas budget. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate.
Share the Budget With the Family
Budgeting is a family affair. Even a well-prepared, well-intentioned budget can fail if no one cooperates. Inform the family about the budget and make sure they understand, so that they don’t make any unnecessary purchases when trying to save money.
There are simple ways to minimize expenses, and saving a little each month can really add up when the holidays come around. Several examples are skipping that dessert course while eating out, packing lunches for the kids, and renting a DVD instead of going to the theater.
To keep track of expenses, write them down. This allows you to identify losses and inappropriate spending. In addition, list the names of the persons whom you will be giving gifts and how much you will spend. If the budget becomes too tight, change the amount you have allotted for the gift.
Determine Whether You Will Pay Cash or Credit
Paying with cash gives you the advantage of not going over your budget; but credit cards can provide you discounts and paper trails. Decide what you want to use and stick to one credit card if you go for credit. Review your transactions so that you do not go over the limit. Always pay on time.
Be at Ease with Your Spending Plans
Some people are stressed by financial planning because of the limitations imposed on their spending. This should not be the case. The budget gives you a spending plan so that you will not be overwhelmed during the Christmas season. By sticking to your budget and being comfortable with it, you will be able to celebrate Christmas without worrying about overspending and debts.