Organise your money this Christmas with a budget planner

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It’s now less than ten weeks until Christmas.  Well that may seem like a long time for you, for me it really doesn’t.  Since having kids the weeks just disappear quicker than I could have ever imagined.  I know the big day will be here before we know it and I love to be super organised.

According to this article from The Mirror, 1 in 3 Britons used credit for Christmas last year.  That’s an awful lot!  Skip back a few years and that was me too.  I didn’t save anything for Christmas and just had a huge blow out on the credit card to cover all the costs.  I then had a miserable few months at the start of the following year to pay it all back.

It isn’t the best solution and with a little planning it can be avoided for a financial stress free Christmas.

This year I’ve done things much differently.

I had a good income month in September (I work for myself so income is unpredictable) so decided to do all our Christmas shopping then.  I’d actually started picking up a few bits of homeware for gifts in end of season sales in the supermarkets towards the end of summer.  This means our Christmas shopping is now complete, paid for and we have nothing moneywise to panic about in December.  We can use our November and December pay to enjoy festive activities.  I’ve even purchased all our cards.  The only thing left to buy is some gift wrap.

Though many people will roll their eyes at how early I’ve done my shopping, I’m definitely not the earliest!  Google trends show that UK searches for ‘Christmas presents’ started in April this year; the earliest for the past few years.  It seems spreading the cost instead of relying on credit is becoming a more popular option.

There are also some handy tools online to help you work out the cost of Christmas so you can be prepared and even start saving now, if you haven’t already.

Use a Christmas budget planner to manage your money

If you haven’t tallied up the cost of the festivities then try an online Christmas Budget Planner to total the cost of your Christmas.  It’s pretty accurate!  I used it to total mine and it’s around what we spent last year and I plan on spending roughly the same this year, so rather impressively, it does work.

Our costs aren’t too extortionate either.  The biggest expense is presents.  We buy for approx. 30 people and most are children.  We buy 1-2 gifts each spending around £5-£20 per person.  We spend the majority on our own children, Bella and Reuben.  We’ve spent around £160 on both of them this year with more than half that on Bella who is five.  I’m sure once Reuben is a little older we’ll spend more on him too, but at two years old he doesn’t need a great deal and has a lot already.  We just have Christmas lunch as the four of us at home and Ben likes to cook a chicken for him and the kids.  I’m veggie so I’ll have a nut roast or just stuffing, veg and potatoes.  I don’t drink alcohol or eat any junk food, so that’s a lot of costs saved right there!  Though we do a special ‘Christmas shop’ each year where we buy whatever we want from the supermarkets in our final food shop of the year.  As for Christmas parties, those days are behind us.  Ben might go to a work do, but that’s it and his company pays.  We’ll visit friends and family over the week and may take some snacks/drinks with us.  What does your Christmas look like?

If you haven’t started saving for Christmas then start saving now.  Once you’ve got your Christmas total from the planner it will tell you how much money you need to save every week until the big day to cover all your costs.

If you’ve not been organised enough this year or can’t save enough in time, then bookmark this page to remember next year.  It’s never too early to start planning, especially when it comes to money.