10 top tips to avoid a Christmas budget blow out

Another festive season is upon us and with it comes the usual overindulgence as well as the long list of gifts to buy for kids, spouses, friends, sisters, brothers, parents, teachers, coaches, neighbours and the list goes on…. Not to mention the impending Christmas feast and the festivities that linger through the next two weeks of summer days and celebrations.

How on earth do we not spend our children’s inheritance during this awesomely festive time?

Here are our 10 top tips to avoid a Christmas budget blow out.

1.Plan ahead. It is a good idea to plan throughout the year. Open a Christmas savings account, or pre-purchase supermarket vouchers on a weekly basis throughout the year. An extra $10 per week in the shopping budget would give you enough money for a handsome feast and extras come Christmas time.

2.Write a Christmas budget. Ths may seem obvious, but knowing what you have to spend in the first place for Christmas festivities will help you stay on target. Work out what you have to spend on key items like food, presents and decorations. Understand where you may be tempted to overspend and also where you have an opportunity to cut costs.

3.Cash only. Spend within your means. Do not be tempted to rack up credit card bills or purchase things on hire purchase. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it!

4.Get creative with your gifting. Not every gift needs to be a big ticket item from a department store. Sometimes the greatest gifts are simple, yet thoughtful gifts that are personal and don’t cost a lot. A potted plant; a photo book of memories; home baking; a personalized playlist of music … the ideas are endless! Get creative!

5.Secret Santa for the win. A Secret Santa draw will allocate one person to each member of the group and that is who they buy a present for. You will need to set a price guide for the presents, which is usually more than you would spend on each individual gift, but much less than you would spend on getting everyone gifts. This is not just a cost saving, but it is a huge time saving also.

6.Research before you shop. Use websites like Pricespy and scour the mailers to find the items you want to purchase for the lowest price. Keep an eye out for items you want to gift and see if you can snap them up at a discounted price before Christmas hits.

7.Make lists and stick to them! Don't ever go Christmas shopping for gifts or food without a list. Fullstop.

8.Keep the menu simple. Christmas dinner costs a small fortune. But do you really need all those trimmings, such as cranberry sauce and brandy butter? Some can be left out without anyone suffering. Simple is better.

9. Bring a plate. If you're hosting at Christmas time, specify exactly what you want guests to bring — including alcoholic drinks. Otherwise you'll be left carrying the burden for the most expensive items. Don’t be afraid to delegate. You will save time, money and your sanity.

10. Focus on experiences not things. The best Christmases involve memories. That could be watching a family Christmas movie together, singing carols, going for a walk, going to the beach, or visiting the Christmas lights. Spend time and not necessarily money creating memories that will last way longer than any material gift will.

**Photo by Denise Johns on Unsplash