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Enjoy a stress free Christmas with these 12 tips

Ah Christmas! It may be a magical time of year… however it can also be a bit stressful…

We are here to help you prepare for a happy Christmas, with our 12 tips of Christmas!

We often spend a little more than we think we will over Christmas, and there are various costs that creep in and add up. Things like travel costs, pet or house sitting, extra activities or unexpected presents.

Keep a record of all of your Christmas-related costs to tally up exactly how much you spent. Then use this figure to plan how much you need to put aside each week from January to be prepared for next Christmas!

Make a list (and check it twice!)

It’s not only Santa who needs a list at Christmas time. Keep yourself on track with a clear list of WHO you need to get gifts for, WHAT you are getting for them, and HOW much you have to spend for each.

Download our Christmas budget template to help with your planning

Set a spending limit

It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas! Make sure your Christmas is a happy one by setting a spending limit for gifts, food, activities etc, and sticking to it! Involve your family as well so they are aware of what your limit is and why.

Prepare for a stress free Christmas with our Christmas budget template

Tighten your belt

The Christmas season often springs up lots of unexpected expenses that you may not have budgeted for… Look for opportunities to tighten your belt and save in other areas, such as:

  • Take packed lunches to work rather than buying lunch
  • Skip your café coffee
  • Cut out social outings such as pubs, clubs and restaurants until December
  • Enjoy some stay home, no spend weekends until December
  • Try to cut your weekly food budget by $10
  • Plan meals using ingredients already in your pantry or freezer
  • Sell some unwanted items
  • Take on seasonal work: lawn mowing, baby/pet sitting etc
  • Supend your gym, pay TV or streaming service for 1-2 months
  • Swap to a cheaper home/contents/health insurance

Stock up your pantry with non-perishable sale items

If your grocery budget allows, start looking out for non-perishable food items on special that you can stock up on for Christmas meals.

If you have time, consider what Christmas meals, sides or treats you can prepare and store in advance.

Consider homemade gifts

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to BUY a gift for it to be special. In fact, it is often MORE special if time, energy and love is put into it rather than $$.

There are all sorts of things you can make that people will actually appreciate, such as:

  • Food, especially baked goods
  • Bath and skin products such as body scrub or bath bombs
  • Potted plants, succulents are always a winner!
  • Photos, artwork and craft items 
  • Personalised vouchers

and more.

Check out these homemade and low cost gift suggestions:

Don’t go crazy on the kids

Kids LOVE Christmas, and it’s easy to get carried away and want to make it their best Christmas ever!

However giving in to their requests or going over the top isn’t necessarily best, as it is important to help manage their expectations.

We are big fans of ensuring the whole family understands the reasons for budgeting at all times of year, and Christmas is no exception. So make sure your kids are aware that there is a budget for Christmas, and talk to them about what is affordable within your household.

This allows you to include them with choices—“We can’t afford a new bike and a scooter this Christmas, but it’s up to you which one you choose.”

You can also refocus your child’s attention on not just receiving, but giving too. Who are they going to make or buy presents for this year? Children who earn pocket money might be expected to set some aside for buying little gifts for, say, their grandparents. Smaller children might be helped to make something.

Another way to involve your child in the spirit of Christmas is to include them in making a charitable donation. At most schools and shopping centres, you’ll find charities looking for toys and food for less fortunate families. Use the opportunity to explain that Christmas is also about sharing and helping each other.

We can also help to deflect attention from the material aspect to the experiences of Christmas. Think back to your own childhood. The fondest memories of Christmas are often not of specific presents but of the fun times you had together—perhaps decorating the tree or going to see the Christmas lights. What special Christmas rituals does your family have? It’s never too late to start some.

The Santa factor: Managing kids’ Christmas expectations

Make use of online shopping and delivery

Time is also at a premium at Christmas, so make use of time-saving options to order gifts and even food or supplies online, and have them delivered straight to your house!

Online shopping also allows you to easily shop around from the comfort of your computer to compare deals and offers.

Do keep in mind these top tips for online shopping at Christmas:

  • If you are shopping from overseas websites, be sure to check the exchange rate so you don’t get a nasty surprise!
  • Check shipping details, how much extra will shipping cost? How long will shipping take? You want to make sure your gifts arrive in time.

Go shopping with cash

Cash might seem a little old fashioned these days, but it is much easier to keep track of how much you are spending compared with tap and go.

Withdraw the amount of money you have budgeted for gifts, food or supplies, keep track of the items and amounts on your list, and don’t spend what you don’t have!

Go shopping by yourself

Whether it’s your kids or friends, while shopping with others might feels social and fun, it is often an easy way to get taken off track from your list and plan.

Instead, make your shopping trip a bit of “you” time, so you can keep focused on where you are shopping, and what you need to buy.

Shop for yourself AFTER Christmas

While shopping for others it can be VERY tempting to buy yourself a few little “presents” as well… surely you’ve earned it!?

This is a easy way to overspend.

Keep track of things that take your fancy, but wait until AFTER Christmas to treat yourself. Look at what you can afford with any extra funds you may have left over, and who knows, they may be even cheaper in the post Christmas sales!

Remember the true meaning of Christmas

At the end of the day, Christmas isn’t about gifts and money… for most people, the most important aspect of Christmas is spending time with the people we love.

Whether it’s cricket in the backyard, playing boardgames, watching Christmas specials on TV, there are so many experiences that offer valuable longterm memories that don’t cost anything.

Think about what is special for you and your family, and how you can create memories that last longer than Christmas Day.

From the whole team at MyBudget, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas!

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This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.