With Brits set to spend more this Christmas 2017 than last year, how can a Christmas budget help?
We all know that this time of year is the most enjoyable. It’s also the most expensive! The excitement for gift exchanges are often clouded with a hard gulp every time the credit card swipes or your wallet seems to have been drained of it’s contents. According to research released this month by the Independent, British consumers are expected to put Brexit uncertainty aside this Christmas and increase their spending budget over last year. British families will spend an average £821.25 on gifts, food and drink and decorations, up 1.3% on last year and 54% more than the European average of £532, according to figures from VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
With internet shopping steadily on the rise, Adults will spend an average of £244 each on gifts, up 1.3% on last year and 51.5% more than the European average of £160.82.
Now that’s not cheap!
With all of that being said, it’s understandable why this time of year can also bring about a huge amount of money stress and anxiety for many of us in the UK.
Let’s look at it like this. A budget is more than damage control. In fact, a well designed budget can actually give you a much more enjoyable buying experience. You know what you have and the limits are set. Now the the fun can start!
So what is a budget? How do I create a Christmas budget? And arguably the most important question – How do I actually stick to a budget? Let’s take a look at 6 very do-able steps to achieve some holiday spirit around these budgeting dilemmas.
1. Set a limit
What is your spending limit this year? Take a look at your expenses from last year to help you ascertain what worked previously and what stretched your accounts a little too far. If you don’t have last years details at hand, that’s ok. Look at your last 3 months of transactions and the next few months of known expenses. Use this information to decide a realistic amount that you can freely put aside for the shopping, entertaining, food and and outings.
2. Hunt a Bargain
Bargains are all over the shops this time of year, whether it’s online or at the stores themselves. With your budget in mind, what bargain buys can you find to fit within your Christmas budget? Keep your eyes peeled for the buy one get one’s and discounted sale items.
3. Think ahead of time
Start thinking about Christmas earlier in the year so that you can take advantage of some end of season sales, discounts and vouchers. Spreading the cost will also lower the pressure. This will be a good point to keep in mind for your Christmas budget 2018.
4. Be creative
How about making some of the Christmas cards at home this year and saving some cash in the shops. Maybe the people you’re going to for Christmas dinner would love some homemade biscuits or a soup instead of another novelty jumper!
5. Stay on target whilst you shop
It’s easy to get swept up in the seasonal shopping fever. Clicking a few extra items into your online cart, or throwing an extra pair of jeans into your basket may seem like just a small extra. Try to keep your goals in mind and be motivated by the relief you’ll feel when all goes according to plan.
6. Now for the big one… Self Discipline
Remember, a good budget empowers purchasers with direction, confidence, and freedom from anxiety. Sticking to your spending limit relies solely on self discipline, you can do it!