The festive season is about making unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Preparation and budgeting will ensure uninterrupted holiday fun and worry-free festive season. So here’s what you should keep in mind when planning for the December holidays…
First things first: to have a stress-free festive season, you need to make sure you’re set for the months that follow. In this case, that would mean being financially set for the long month of January too. The reality is that, unlike January, December payday comes a lot sooner, giving many of us time to prepare for Christmas. January becomes a ‘longer’ month to get through because of the long gap between December’s salary and January’s. So save yourself the headache and prepare in time. It’s important to map out your intended expenses for the festive season. This will help you to not lose sight of where your money is going as well as keeping you from getting caught up in the hype of unbudgeted holiday fun. So when you budget for December, try to factor in your expenses for the month of January. These include necessities such as toiletries, groceries, bills and other set monthly expenses.
Exercising discipline is so important. Avoid borrowing money for your December expenses; you’ll only end up having to pay it back in January. Stick to your budget and anything over and above can wait.
Don’t bank on a bonus
It’s always best to stick to your general budget and not bank on your incoming bonus, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Your festive-season budget should be based on your guaranteed monthly income. That way, if your bonus is pushed out to a later period, you still have your December expenditure covered. Also, it’s in your best interest to put away a portion of your bonus into your savings account.
Last-minute shopping is not always a good idea, especially when you’re working with a budget. So take a day to draft a list of the gifts you’re buying and work these costs into your budget. If you’re working on a tight budget, there are more affordable options for gifting. Here are a few:
Black Friday – This is a perfect time of the year for buying gifts and non-perishable items at a lower price and save.
Secret Santa – This option allows you to buy one great gift for one person rather than splurging and buying many gifts for a lot of people.
Early grocery shopping – If you can, get some of your menu items, like the turkey or gammon, before the festive season rush and store them in the freezer.
DIY décor – It’s a great way to get the family involved in a group activity and get the spirit of Christmas going.
Celebrate with a ‘bring and share’ – Have everyone chip in with a dish, drinks, dessert and other festive eats and have an outdoor get-together.
Sharing is caring
While the holiday season is a time for family, it’s also a time for sharing and giving. When preparing your meals, make a few extra portions to give to those in need in your neighbourhood. Let nothing go to waste. Sometimes giving someone of your time and company equates to even more, so if you can, put time aside to sit and have a meal with someone and make them feel special.
You can never be too prepared, so get your plans for making sure you’re set for the festive season going. By planning and preparing for the holidays, you save yourself the headache of last-minute spending, which could turn into overspending.