Stress Free Christmas – Part 1: Christmas Budget
I’m so pleased you decided to join me in my Stress Free Christmas 🙂
3 simple steps to complete your Christmas budget
This section is all about money, and making sure there’s enough to see you through to the big day. This is a bit of a painful step for a lot of us, and so we tend to skip it and hope for the best. Never a good idea when it comes to finances!
Here, I’ll give you three quick and easy steps to take so that you can get the money stuff sorted now. That way you can focus on the fun stuff from now until Christmas.
Get your Christmas budget done in 15 minutes
First things first, you’re going to need a pen and paper (or if you’re feeling super efficient, then your computer and a spreadsheet of some sort). If you’ve got a bank statement lying around then that would be handy too.
Ready? Great! Take a deep breath and don’t be scared. This is going to be easy 🙂
Step One – Do you have any spare savings?
You need to know what your starting point is. If it’s £0, don’t panic. This is a stress free Christmas remember?
Do you have any savings already that could be used for Christmas? Yes: Hurrah! Jot down how much you can spare and move on to step two. (Don’t go pinching the kids’ uni fund – this is just money that’s spare for Christmas!)
No: Don’t worry – there’s still a plan B 🙂 Move straight to step two.
Step Two – Do you have disposable income?
Now it’s time to work out what money (if any) you can spare each week/month, once you’ve paid your bills and bought your groceries.
Have you ever written an income & expenditure for your monthly (or weekly) finances?
Yes: Fab! Just use that to work out your monthly disposable income and jot down what it is before moving to step three.
Err, no – what’s that? – it’s easy! We’ll do one now. On your paper or spreadsheet, jot down what your total monthly household income is (after taxes). This should include all benefits, regular overtime and any other guaranteed money coming into your household each month.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to go through all of the expenses you have. This is where your bank statement comes in handy because you can get the figures from there. If you don’t have one, it’s fine, just put the rough amounts down for now. You need to include all of your bills – mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, HP’s, loans, credit cards, the whole caboodle.
Don’t forget you need to eat! Include an average amount for your monthly food shopping.
Think you’ve got everything? OK, now, you need to take the total expenses away from the total income and if you’re lucky, you will have some left! This is your disposable income.
Now you’re in a great position to decide how much (if any) of your weekly/monthly income you can put aside for Christmas. Even £5 per week will give you an extra £75!
Step 3 – Can you cut back on anything?
If you’re struggling to find much spare money from steps 1 and 2, then the third step is to look at your existing expenses and see if there’s anything you can cut back on until Christmas. A few examples might be:
Takeaways (just think, one less takeaway per month will bag you about an extra £60 by Christmas!)
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Cakes & Snacks
In our family, we could definitely cut back on number 2 and number 4…
Not to worry! Here’s an Example Christmas Budget for you to use as a template 🙂
You should now have your total Christmas budget – just add together what spare savings you have already and the disposable income you can afford to put aside from now until Christmas.
Hopefully, you’ve had a pleasant surprise and have more to play with than you thought.
If however, you’ve had a bit of a shock and don’t have much spare at all, then don’t panic. Better to find out now than to overspend later. You still have plenty of time to plan for a smaller budget. Keep following my weekly guide and I’ll be giving you some great ideas for low cost gifts, entertaining ideas and recipes.
Some Extra Resources
For money saving tips and a handy online budget tool: This is Money Household Budget Calculator
More money saving advice: Money Saving Expert – Top money saving tips, tricks and treats
Make sure you keep your Christmas Budget handy and that you STICK to it. We’ll be coming back to it in future weeks.
What do you think?
I hope you found part 1 useful. If you did, then please do let me know in the comments or by hitting the like button and sharing it with your friends!
If not, I’d really like to hear from you too so that I can improve it for next year 🙂
Go to part 2: Making Christmas lists & checking them twice
Now you know what your budget is, time to start listing what you’ll be spending it on! I hope I’ll see you then 🙂