You can actually pay your bills on time, enjoy your holiday break and welcome 2022 financially strong.
The holidays are almost here and you know what that means – it's the season of giving and it is one of those times of year many of us look forward to.
Friends, travel, personal downtime, shopping sprees, decorations to hang-up and lots of feel good activities to enjoy and that means more to spend money on
Before we get started, let’s look at the key budget tip i.e. the 50/30/20 budget rule.
It works and applies all year round (yes, even on Christmas)
Here’s how to get started on your Christmas budget and how not to get wrapped-up in overspending.
Simply put, a Christmas budget is a specific budget created specifically to manage the holiday season costs and it is often an extra consideration to consider, in your regular monthly budget.
Because this is a separate yet specific budget from the usual monthly budget, it's important to know how to adjust your expenses and saving plans, in advance.
Your discipline and understanding about - how much to spend versus how much you want to spend, means you can easily stick to your budget while on holiday.
Here’s how to get started.
Simply, include these 7 main categories and each categories’ item-list, as follows:-
This includes: family (i.e. spouse / partner, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins) & others (i.e. friends, colleagues, neighbours, anyone else you consider but isn’t related to you)
Category 2 – Decorations
This includes: the tree (even the artificial one), ornaments, house decorations, wrapping paper, ribbon, glue stick & tape, gift bags and boxes, Christmas cards and envelopes.
Category 3 – Food
This includes: main course cooking ingredients (e.g. spices, groceries), drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic), snacks (e.g. sweets/candy, crisps, biscuits, packed nuts, cakes, cookies), dining out cost or dial-and-delivery costs.
Category 4 – Travel
This includes: pocket money per person/group, public transport fare, petrol/fuel and others (e.g. extra car accessories for travel comfort, gate and toll fees and parking fee estimates).
Category 5 – Event & Entertainment
This includes: tickets (e.g. cinema, theatre, concerts, national parks etc.), clothing, arts-and-craft supplies (e.g. for kids’ entertainment)
Category 6 – Giving
This includes: charities (list the charity organisation and the specific gift type), volunteering (e.g. gift type, transport cost where applicable)
Category 7 – Emergency Fund
We do hope for a ‘‘perfect holiday’’ but its always wise to be prepared for the worst.
Now, that you have the budget structure, read on for how to correctly fill-in each category’s list.
Now that you have your budget planner, here are 4 easy steps to get you started:-
Set a budget of how much you want to spend (a figure or percentage, will do).
There isn’t a "one-for-all budget amount” rather we work towards a realistic budget by including the main points-of-spending, let’s call them the “Xmas 6”. These are:-
For your sake and theirs - keep the holiday cheer going by considering each person’s personality and lifestyle (yours and others on the list)
Create a list and budget for each person and item.
For example, your gift types and costs will vary for family, friends, couples, colleagues etc. This easily helps to identify who gets a shared gift, homemade gifts and what type of store bought gifts to budget for.
Some of the popular donations include holiday giveaways like cash, goods, holiday fostering of needy families, even volunteering your time. Whichever way you choose to spread the holiday cheer, it costs time and money in form of fare, airtime, accommodation etc. all things you’ll need to consider
Where do you plan to celebrate Christmas?
Based on your plans, budget for accommodation costs, fuel/fare, parking fees, baggage fees, entry fees, pocket-money walk around money and any specific-need expenses for babies, toddlers, the elderly and disabled persons
It's not a holiday without entertainment. The universal rule for all is be sure, safe and stick to your budget.
Get all the important info’ you need, to verify entertainment plans and to confirm invited participants, all with your budget in mind
Same as entertainment, “The universal rule for all is be sure, safe and stick to your budget”, which also applies whether you’re dining out or planning a home-cooked feast
Generally, it's always a good idea to carry your loyalty card or have your favourite go-to stores' apps installed.
Another free, easy way to get timely updates is to sign up/subscribe for email notifications and e-newsletters on retail store websites too.
The great thing about early budgeting is you have a higher chance of getting your favourite products before stock runs out.
Before November ends, take advantage of the Black Friday and end-year sale offers to:-
This option usually gets a frown or raised eyebrow response – but remember it's the thought that counts, with most people.
True, the arts & crafts gift giving culture is not popular – so if you’re not likely to make a handmade gift, the best alternative is to buy hand-made gifts.
TIP: A quick browser search to buy handmade gifts in Kenya will get you sorted out, in minutes
Kenya is a top tourist spot and travel package offers usually start as early as July.
Wherever you are – explore the unique travel and culture gems’ that are locally available to you and add more cheer to the season by choosing to share the cost of quality fun.
Maybe you are still skeptical about the idea of a Christmas Budget but ask yourself how many times you’ve overspent while on holiday.
This year, why not change the usual and treat yourself to a relaxing, joyful, debt-free holiday?