How to keep costs down this Christmas

01 Nov 2018

How to keep costs down this Christmas

The festive season is once again upon us – and so are all those extra expenses. However, with a bit of planning, you can keep those extra costs in check and this can be an enjoyable and affordable time of the year. Here’s how:

Make a list of all your expenses

This will be a long list – all the folks you would like to give gifts to, the cost of transport to get to and from places you will go, the cost of additional and special food, hosting gifts, decorations, contributions to churches, charities and office secret-Santa pools, camping/rental fees etc. There may be more. Go mad - get it all down as best you can.

Figure out how much money you have 

Start with how much you can, or have already, put aside between now and the festive season. How much of that are you willing to commit? Be careful here – those on a tight weekly budget may have very little extra to put aside. Be realistic and keep in mind that much joy can be had without money!

Prioritise your list

It probably needs to be shorter. Celebrations are not about digging a financial hole for yourself, so you will need to be firm about where money is allocated. Be sensitive to your own, your partner’s and your family’s desires to give generously, but keep it real. 

Remember what Christmas is really about

Holiday festivities are not about financially harming yourself. Keep the focus where it belongs - sharing warmth and gratitude. 

Assign funding

Beside each expense on your list, allocate a budgeted amount. To help keep expenses down, assign homemade gift or whatever non-financial ideas you have come up with. The total cost of expenses cannot exceed the amount you wrote down in step 2. You may need to reconsider some desired expenses to make your celebration fit your budget. A simple celebration a simple celebration without financial stress is significantly better than a lavish one under pressure.

I don’t have money for gifts…

  • Homemade gifts: Cookies, decorations, photo calendars, a personalised playlist, a treasured recipe, a basket of homegrown vegetables, bulbs planted in little pots, a scrapbook of memories
  • Sell unwanted items on Trade Me, Facebook or have a garage sale to raise some extra cash
  • Time: Coupons for babysitting, lawnmowing, back rubs or a car wash; a date out at a free event (think Music in the Park, a gallery or museum); or a genuine promise to fix that sticky door
  • Enter any extra materials you have around the house into the search bar on Pinterest and see ideas for repurposing!