Oh Christmas! How I loathe yet love you at the same time! Year in and out weA�begrudgingly face your craziness, your stress, your credit card debt- and all in the name of the a�?Magica�?!a�?.
This year Ia��m making the conscious decision to turn it all around. Ia��m setting a budget and Ia��m sticking to it like glue.A�And as per the agreement with myself- Ia��m being extra organised by starting my Christmas shopping now. Which means, ita��s budget time!
Now, before you start jumping for sheer, sarcastic joy ( for, I know how numbers excite you!) this is practical advice that you too can revel in. Why? Because,A�planned spendings equal SAVINGS! And More money equals more wine on Christmas day which makes a�?family timea�? so much more bearable. So dear Reader, just think about theA�#gainz.
Step 1) Set your BudgetA�
How much can you afford to spend?
SayA�my partner and I maintainA�an average $900 each week afterA�fixedA�expenses (mortgage repayments, rent, car repayments, school fees, phone, internet, council rates, insurance, etc). Then wea��ll spend an average $250 a week on groceries, $200 combined on takeaway, eating out, alcohol and lunches, $60 combined on gas, electricity and water, and $150 on fuel.
So that leaves us with a weekly deposit of $240 straight into our savings.
Ok now ita��s your turn. (If your a sucker for a good spreadsheet, now may be the time to utlise those handy Excel skills).A�Start with your fixed expenses, then work in your variables to figure out how much youa��ve got left.A�Got it? Cool, write it down.
Now, how much in savings will you have by Christmas? Simply multiply your figure by the amount of weeks left until a�?The most wonderful time of the yeara��.A�There are currently 15 more weeks out, so Ia��ll have an extra $3600 in my savings account. Yay!
I really dona��t want to be spending all that $$$ in one go.A�You never know when a rainy day is coming, plus wea��re saving for a post Chrissy vay-cay. With this in mindA�I am willing to spend $1000 on my Christmas.
Now IA�divide $1000 by 15 (for 15 weeks to go), and I know Ia��ve got an average of $66 a week to spend on Christmas from this week onwards.
Step 2) Track your BudgetA�
IA�know I can start chipping away at my $1000 budget but I need to organise and track my expenditure to avoid blow-outs.
First things first, list the people youa��d normally buy for. Dona��t forget to consider a�?Surprise presentsa�?, decorations, gift wrapping, and where the food and alcohol is coming from. Distribute your budget accordingly.
Allocate your budget in order of priority. If you can already see that youa��re going over it might be time to hitA�Pinterest for some great DIY ideas for colleagues and stocking fillers.
Limit the number of gifts the kids can put on their list. For example, ask them to choose 3 things that they really want. This will encourage them to appreciate what they have and stop you from over-spending.
SetA�realistic targets! Therea��s no use setting unachievable goals- you wona��t stick to them and youa��re going to be blowing out everywhere (hence the purpose of the budget is defeated and youa��ve just wasted a whole hour working on a useless document).
Herea��s my completed spread sheet:
As you can see Ia��m making a lot of homemade coffee scrub this year!
I have to admit, I was quite surprised to see how quickly everything added up. Originally I had allocated $100A�aA�festive outfit but had to scrap that when my budget blew out
Now Ia��ve got a clear goal and plenty of time, ita��ll be a lot easier to find the best prices.A�Ita��s true what they say about the bird and the worm!A�So Fire up Excel and get crackingA�now- trust me youa��ll be thanking me later ?Y?�
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