With less than 6 weeks to go to Christmas, this time of year can be the most financially stressful time for many people. But don’t panic! There are a few simple things you can start doing today that will ensure you get to look forward to the holiday season and not wish it away.
On a spreadsheet or piece of paper, write down all the presents you need to buy and how much you are willing to spend on each one. Don’t forget the neighbours, your office Kris Kindle as well as all the usual friends and family. Review this list regularly and tick off the items you’ve bought and how much you’ve actually spent. If you spend slightly less than you budgeted for on one pressie, that’s great. You’re going to need that money elsewhere!
Even the most annoying people who save all year around must stretch themselves during the month of December. Open the calendar and mark out your nights out. Set yourself a fixed amount to spend on each night. For example, a get together with your friends might cost €100 but for your office party you might only need to budget €60 (unless your boss is a complete Scrooge!).
You’ll also have to set aside funds for Christmas decorations, food & drink and travel expenses. If you have kids, you’ll need extra babysitter money too.
The key to planning is that there are no surprises. If your plan shows up that you are way over budget, then look at reducing the cost of each present by 10% or forego one of those nights out.
For many people pay day arrives a couple of weeks earlier in December. Rather than getting your wages at the end of the month your boss pays you in the middle of the month and your bank account looks fantastic!
This is not a signal to go out and blow the whole lot on eggnog and mince pies!
It could be 6 weeks before you get paid again so think long term and don’t get caught up in the Christmas hysteria. If it helps you could move some of your money into a separate savings account so at least you can call on that in the dark winter nights in January.
To get you started check out this handy Christmas Budget Planner (http://www.consumerhelp.ie/christmas-budget) or contact Coleman Financial Planning today (firstname.lastname@example.org) and make your money work better for you!