Okay, I know what you are thinking?! Why am I talking about Christmas already?! Mariah and Buble have barely been put back in their CD cases?!
But even though we know every year that Christmas is going to happen on the same date, we still sometimes manage to let ourselves get flustered, over-spend and dread the holiday season…
That is why it’s so important to have a good idea of your budget for Christmas, a firm idea of who you want to actually buy for and what you’d like to get them!
That is why with all the end of financial year deals and big department store sales upon us, I thought I’d share my top tips for planning early for Christmas and provide a FREE easy to use Gift Planner.
This way you can easily budget for Christmas and actually just enjoy your December attending Christmas parties and enjoying the company of friends and family – STRESS-FREE!!
To work out what you should roughly be spending, it is suggested on many websites I researched you spend no more than 1.5% of your annual income.
So, here is the maths…
$70,000 / 100 X 1.5 = $1,050 is your maximum Christmas budget!
This is a good guide to work out what is reasonable and affordable when spending for Christmas! And a great way to avoid overspending and putting yourself in debt.
Here are my top tips to assist you when planning Christmas…
Make A List, Check It Twice
Sorry I had to, right? But this is key in preparing yourself for a stress-free Christmas and a great opportunity to really evaluate who you buy for and why?
You don’t have to buy for everyone you know, even if they have bought for you in the past. Buy for who you want and give gifts of meaning and purpose!
By starting now and giving yourself to asses your gift list and budget then you might find you completely changer the way you see Christmas!
Be mindful of waste, and perhaps think of other ways you can give gifts that might be little or no cost, like home-made gifts.
Work Out Your Budget
I find that a lot of people I’ve asked actually don’t have a specific budget in mind when they spend at Christmas, and couldn’t even tell me how much they had spent on gifts and entertaining?!
That is why I created an easy to use printable and spreadsheet so you can make a list of whom you wish to buy for this Christmas, and how much you can spend so you can plan ahead for how much you need and shop around for deals through the year on the things you need to buy!!
You can also use my FREE monthly budget spreadsheet here to add your totals to save throughout the year.
Put Money Away
Once you have worked out your budget then you can work out how much you need to put away each week/month to get everything you need.
Or alternatively, you can space these costs out through the year when good sales and deals are on offer. Buying under duress is one of the worst things you can do and is the main culprit for over-spending at Christmas in my opinion.
Preparation and planning are key!
Join A Cash Back Or Loyalty Program
I’ve spoken a lot about my love of cashback sites and I am an avid user of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
It is just a great way to maximise your dollar and spending, especially on Christmas shopping. I always prefer shopping on a site that offers me cash back or Qantas Points as it means my dollar goes further.
You can also use the money you save through Cashback sites towards your big Christmas grocery shop or more presents!!
You can add “points prompter” to your Chrome so you don’t miss any points on eligible sites. Same with cashback sites like Shop Back, who also offers a Chrome Extension.
Shop The Sales
Once you have your budget and gifts set out, then you are in the best position to shop around and find the best deals to keep or even come in under your budget!!
End of the financial year is a great time, as well as annual sales at department stores like Big W Toy Sale.
For example, the Baby Alive “Real As Can Be Baby” doll that so many of our audience loved will go on sale for $99 down from $150!!! A great gift idea and a saving of $50!!
While I am not a big fan of things like AfterPay, this is the time I would potentially use it if buying a number of big items at once and wanting to spread costs. A LayBy is always my preference as then it isn’t clogging up space in my house and I only get the item when I’ve actually paid for it!
Another hot tip: Kyree’s Adore Christmas launches in November, with hundreds of discount codes and offers for Christmas. So if any of these items are on your list you will be well prepared and have budgeted for all your wish list items!
My tip when you do your budget is to put the retail price of an item in the “budget column” and if you happen to find it on sale or cheaper then you can see the real saving you are making!!
Don’t Live Beyond Your Means
Most important when you are planning your Christmas and gift buying, is to not live beyond your means! If you find that you don’t have the funds available for everything then absolutely do not feel like you have to go into debt, borrow or put yourself in any kind of financial hardship!
Christmas ultimately should be about celebration and enjoying the company of friends and family.
Don’t feel obligated to buy anyone a gift you don’t want to or cannot afford. There are plenty of frugal and fun ways to make someone feel special at Christmas.
Download Your Christmas Budget
I have given two versions. One printable to use manually and perhaps pop on the fridge as a guide. The other is a spreadsheet with live formulas to calculate your spend.
How to download and use your spreadsheet?
Here is a quick guide on how to use the spreadsheet. I’ve created it in Google Sheets as I know not everyone has Excel but you can convert it to an Excel Spreadsheet if you like.
- Once you’ve opened the file, you need to go to “File” and “Make A Copy”. From there you can rename the file.
- If you want it as an Excel document, you can choose to “Download As” and select “Excel Document” (outlined below). The formulas will still work but you may lose some formatting.
- Enter in the person name and each item individually, you still need to enter $0 for the formulas to work.
- Every field needs to have a dollar value, even if it’s $0, to work. If you’re getting an error, check the rows and columns all have this input.
- I suggest using the $RRP of each item in the budget column, this will give you an idea of how much you are projected to spend on these items.
- Use the actual column to fill in what you paid, it might be on sale or you find a discount code etc but don’t put this as a budgeted price as it’s technically false.
For those after the manual printable of the spreadsheet, find it here!
Make sure once you have worked out your Christmas Budget, you add this into your Monthly Budget here. I have updated to include this column.