10 Ways to Avoid A Christmas Budget Blow Out….There’s Still Time!

Christmas Budget

10 Ways to Avoid A Christmas Budget Blow Out….There’s Still Time!

This post is sponsored by Fair Go Finance 

By now I’m sure many of you well organised Mummies have already bought your Christmas presents and they are wrapped underneath the Christmas tree AND…you’ve stuck to your Christmas budget. Good Job! Me, well I’m definitely not there yet. There’s nothing under my tree and I still have a number of presents to buy which puts me at high risk of contracting the ‘overspending at Christmas’ bug.

I’ve always been so good at sticking to a budget and buying Christmas presents ahead of time. I’m one of those crazies who has a colourful budget spreadsheet that is separated into categories, I couldn’t live without it. In one of the categories I include presents and specify how much in the budget is allocated to each person. I’m usually VERY good at sticking to it, but this year I fear I’m going to go off track a little.  Apparently the biggest reason for budget blowout according to a study carried out by Fair Go Finance is last minute buying (36%) followed by lack of planning (27.7%) and then no budget (24.13%). Apart from having no budget, I’m afraid this is me. Ho hum.

Including gifts, food and travel, I calculate that our budget is around $800 a year for Christmas. This includes gifts for my niece and nephews and presents for my husband’s family for which we do a secret Santa.  It seems as though we fit in with the norm according to the responses of Fair Go Finance’s study on people’s total Christmas budgets. Where do you fit?
Less $500 = 22%

$500-$1000 = 31% (ME)

$1001-$1500 = 16.5%

$1501-$2000 = 12.3%

Over $2000 = 7.8%

And around 4 in 10 (42%) will go over budget. Ouch. Don’t let it be me!
With 17 shopping days left until Christmas (OMG. OMG.) there’s still something that can save us poor souls who are on the verge of budget blowout (and if you’ve already exploded, the good news is you can make up for it next  year). I feel so guilty because in most of the years past, I have followed most of these tips.

Set a realistic budget

Set a realistic budget, taking into account your January pay might be later due to the holidays. If you know you’re likely to overspend, factor this into your total if you have the income available or follow the below steps to better manage within your limit.

Write a list

Write a list of what you need to buy, and research the items online (including sites like eBay and Gumtree) before heading to the shops. Even better, buy online!

Christmas Present

Junk mail is your friend

Keep the catalogues and do your homework – compare prices and be prepared.

Pay in cash

Either take your Christmas spending money out and pay in cash, or transfer your budget to a separate bank account and only use that account to pay for Christmas items.

Agree on a family budget

Talk to family members and agree who you will be buying for and how much will be spent.

Share the cost

Share the cost of Christmas food and drinks between family members, or bring a dish each to Christmas lunch or dinner.

Food shop early

Do your food shop early to avoid last minute panic buying of items you don’t need, plus take advantage of promotions like Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) while you do your weekly shop.

Sign up to newsletters

Sign up to newsletters from your favourite retailers now. They’ll often email discount codes in the lead-up to Christmas, and don’t forget to check voucher code websites.

Get your craft on

Get crafty and be your own Masterchef – make your own Christmas cards and decorations together with the kids, and put together food hampers full of your own creations like fudge, shortbread, and biscuits.  You can get some great ideas as my Christmas Crafts round up {insert link} and Easy Christmas Recipe round up {insert link}.

Secret Santa

Host a Secret Santa Supper or Kris Kringle with friends and family rather than buying individual gifts.  This is what both sides of my family have started doing and it cuts down the cost by more than half. We now just buy for the children and it’s lots of fun.

Secret Santa

Donate

Instead of going overboard with Christmas presents or perhaps instead of buying presents for other people in your family besides your children, why not consider making a donation or buying a charity gift. Charities like World Vision have a variety of gifts starting from $5 such as buying a chicken and eggs or the gift of immunization. You can purchase gifts at World Vision Australia here.

Writing this post has certainly been a timely reminder for me to pull my head in and reassess my Christmas spending considering I have not finished it yet! I hope it’s helpful to some of you too and whips you back into lineJ.

Have a happy (blowout free) Christmas! X

 

What tips can you share that help you stick to your Christmas budget?

 

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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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29 Comments

  1. LydiaCLee
    December 8, 2014 / 6:09 am

    Great tips – I just scaled back on what I spent this year (but I shop on sales throughout the year). However, one boy is getting a laptop for school so that blew the budget for us all!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:26 am

      Good idea re: the sales. I need to be a bit more organised like that.

  2. December 8, 2014 / 6:29 am

    I hold on to our tax refund – that generally takes care of everything!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:26 am

      That’s a great idea!

  3. December 8, 2014 / 6:49 am

    Our Christmas shopping is pretty much sorted, just a couple of last minute things I need to get. I’m happy to stay I’ve stuck to a budget this year – around $500 for gift and that includes the four of us, our parents and 5 nephews/neices 🙂

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:26 am

      Good work Lauren!

  4. December 8, 2014 / 7:33 am

    I am done but only because I’ve run out of money and quite frankly my kids have enough stuff! Only thing left is pressie for hubby and some food for Xmas day!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:27 am

      Is it just me or are husbands the hardest to buy for?

  5. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    December 8, 2014 / 7:48 am

    Such great ideas!!! Our family does the whole pull a name out of a hat so you only have to buy for one person. For friends I usually bake something so that’s cheap. Christmas is just crazy expensive otherwise!!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:27 am

      Thanks Lucy. Love the pull the name out of the hat, that’s what we’ve started doing with my husbands family.

  6. December 8, 2014 / 8:06 am

    I wrote lists this year and have stuck to them (for the first time ever).

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:27 am

      Good on you Toni. 🙂

  7. December 8, 2014 / 8:33 am

    Haha, this isn’t too late for me!! I haven’t even started yet!! This Thursday is “D” Day for me. The girls have given me their lists and now I am really scared!!!!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:27 am

      Good Luck!!!!!

  8. Kirsty @ My Home Truths
    December 8, 2014 / 9:43 am

    I’m still going with christmas shopping and preparation but this week is it. We usually have a rough budget but things do tend to sneak past me and we sometimes do go over. I’m going to belatedly follow some of these tips and end on a positive note this year!!!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:28 am

      Good luck with the final things. I hope you can use some of the tips to get you over the line.

  9. December 8, 2014 / 10:43 am

    Girl, stop comparing. Or alternatively compare yourself to me. We ain’t got no tree yet. Do not worry about somethings. xS

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:28 am

      I’m not comparing, I just like being organised!

      • December 10, 2014 / 6:47 pm

        It is good to be organised. Yet you are comparing this current state of un-organisation to a past state and other peoples states of organisation. Rather accept that this year, you are different. Move slowly and gentle through it all. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t need to.

  10. Tash from Gift Grapevine
    December 8, 2014 / 11:20 am

    I’m a big writer of lists – it helps me get in and out of the shops much quicker! I think I spend more time looking for a parking space. Doing Secret Santas for adults and then gifts just for the kids has saved our family a lot. Christmas is really just about the kids now. If I can get everyone together and do it with a glass of bubbles in hand then I’m a happy person!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:29 am

      I hear you! I don’t know what I’d do with out my lists. I’m so glad our families have opted for secret santas too, so much easier and less money to be spent.

  11. December 8, 2014 / 11:24 am

    I have a budget and try to stick to it though I think there are always a few little bits and bobs that sneak in along the way. Thankfully my family do a secret santa for the adults so we can focus on the kids for gifts.

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:29 am

      Love the secret santa idea.

  12. December 8, 2014 / 5:22 pm

    I’m hopeless with budgets but I do the homemade pressies for teachers and neighbours. We only have a a small family and we just buy for the kids but can understand how this can get huge for some families. Finished all my shopping today, yay!

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:29 am

      Yes, it can get terribly huge which is why we decided to tone it down a bit.

  13. December 9, 2014 / 6:11 am

    These are great tips Eva. I have my list and budget sorted early. Normally by now I have all presents wrapped and under the tree but I still have a handful to buy. Some of these are vouchers so I can get them closer to the date. I will be doing my Christmas food shop early. I try to stay away from the shops to close to Christmas.

    • December 10, 2014 / 11:30 am

      I too will try to do food shopping early. Thankfully I’m not hosting Christmas this year so it will be a tad bit easier.

  14. October 5, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    With 5 children our budget is really high. It is the only time of year that we spoil the kids, well other than all the sport they play.To be honest our budget is much, much lower than most of our friends, but still really high as far as we are concerned. Must look a little closer to see if I can reduce more of the costs. xx
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