Even Christmas needs a budget

It is pretty easy to get caught up in all the merrymaking and shopping and totally forgetting that your December pay has to last for a long time. Overspending happens to many who then have to tighten their underwear string all through January because they were too loose with their wallets and purses.

There is no need to put yourself out, or worse, put yourself in debt just because all the flashing lights and tinsels subconsciously encouraged you to live like a king or queen at Christmas. When you come off that spending euphoria, you live like a pauper having gone through half of your utility’s money and most of what you normally allocate towards groceries.

Make a list of all the things you NEED before you start shopping.

Trim the excesses

The best way to combat that is not to let it get there. Hence, balling on a budget is required. Make a list of all that you want to purchase. Analyse it, and then from that original list make a list of all that you NEED to purchase. By doing that you trim the excesses easily. Once you have whittled down your shopping list to the bare minimum, start with your children and then your spouse. By taking care of the little ones, even if the gift you get your partner is not that expensive, they will not be that put out.

Then make a mental note of who in your circle of family and friends needs an actual gift or will be cool with just a phone call or some ‘drive-by food’. Drive-by food is when you call up a friend and turn up at their home bearing drink, cake or a cooked meal, all because you appreciate them and know that they will appreciate the gesture.

What’s wrong with reusing the decorations from last year?

Forget the fancy decorations

When your budget is tight, forget about fancy decorations and new curtains etc. We have been programmed to spend on new sheets and curtains every year, but who says that we need all of that? What is wrong with the sheets you got last year? You haven’t even used them since the last major holiday. Make do with what you have because, normally, once you buy quality, they are still in excellent condition.

Avoid going out to eat. A nice restaurant is fun, but it ain’t cheap. Go dig up your mother’s old recipes and get back to basics with a nice dish that you have not tried for a while. Choose something out of the norm so that it will be a pleasant surprise for the family and one they will remember.

If you generally do not have a lot of money, do not even wait until Christmas to shop. Start making small, meaningful purchases or tokens from early in the year. This way, when the holidays roll around, you would have already gotten what you need to put under the old tree, saving yourself all that headache and anxiety.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.