Barely few weeks to Christmas and the frenzy is already building up. Now is the time to start planning towards the yuletide season, before the rush hour sets in and everything spirals out of control. If you are thinking of shopping for Christmas gifts on a budget, now is the time to begin your Christmas budget planning.
In this article, we are going to share with you seven (7) sure ways you can plan Christmas on a budget and achieve a happier, and debt-free, holiday.
We all know Christmas comes with associated costs and the stress of planning for the season, but hey, you can choose to think differently this time around. Instead of the usual money-centered buzz and the financial cost typically associated with the holiday, why not embrace a simpler version of celebrations and resist the urge to get yourself sucked into a web of spiralling debt and stress?
Let’s be real; some of us can get really worked up on who to get gifts for and who to side-line, and when we build these expectations in people, it gets pretty awkward backing down at the last minute. Buying a gift item for everyone is also time-consuming and energy-sapping. It’s ok to be generous, especially during Christmas and other festive seasons, but while at it, you don’t have to plunge yourself into a debt hole.
That’s why it’s of the essence that you have these difficult conversations with relatives and close friends, let them know the limit to what you can do and offer. That way, you eliminate both the financial and psychological burden.
Develop your gift-giving list:
Now that you have defined a clear strategy on what you can afford, its time to move on to the next stage and draft your gift-giving list. This is important if you are to stay focused and within budget.
This step is full of hard choices and it would be hard to reach a decision, but you must realise that you can never satisfy everybody no matter how you try. Apart from gift items, others can benefit in other ways that include goodwill messages, phone calls, or an invite to dinner. You just have to try something different and find a way to make it fit into your budget.
Develop your budget:
Now that you have streamlined your choices and got yourself a list, it’s time to develop your budget and ensure everything fits in perfectly. Since Christmas is just weeks away, its about time you started this process. Developing a budget ensures you don’t go overboard with your spending while trying to impress friends and relatives. Be disciplined enough to stay within the budget you drafted, else all your efforts with your Christmas budget planning would be in vain.
Increase your budget if you can:
While planning, if you discover you are running on a short leash, you may increase your budget. This is to ensure you don’t box yourself into a corner while trying to create your gift plan. But whatever you do, never make the mistake of ending up with a large budget with a runaway cost that defeats the initial purpose of your plan.
Write it down:
Once you are satisfied with your Christmas gift-giving list, commit everything to paper to reduce the risk of you either losing track of what, and who, you budgeted for. Once you commit your plan to paper, it’s quite easy to tweak it a little bit once in a while to accommodate new exigencies, while also helping shape your yuletide financial plan through the season.
Be sure it is okay:
Once you are satisfied with all that penny-pinching, list-trimming, budgeting-crunching, and you discover you still don’t have the financial muscle to satisfy everybody, then there are other ways you can show love to friends and loved ones during Christmas. You can invite everyone over for one big family get-together where everyone gets to meet one another and reunite. You can also send wonderful notes of goodwill and spread the love of the season through engagements and camaraderie.
In conclusion, as the festive season approaches, now is the time to start your Christmas budget planning to ensure the joy of Christmas does not dig a financial hole in your pocket. While Christmas is a time to make merry and have fun with friends and loved ones, it’s also a time to ensure you plan accordingly and budget your limited resources to avoid falling into a debt trap.