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5 Ways to Budget For Christmas Now
5 Ways to Budget For Christmas Now
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Money Management

5 Ways to Budget For Christmas Now

Doreen Gathoni
November 25, 2021

It’s True!

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)

  • To enjoy a stress-free holiday season, have a budget, to guide and remind you to keep your eye on the ball.

Here’s how to get started on your Christmas budget and how not to get wrapped-up in overspending.

  • First, understand the difference between a Christmas budget and the monthly “paycheck” budget. Differentiating the two often helps you get started and to stay-on budget.

Understand What A Christmas Budget Is 

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.

TIP: If you’ve never heard of or created a holiday budget, it's easy to start and easy to follow – and no need to worry about sacrificing too much, unrealistic costs or a boring “hard-up” holiday plan

Understand The Christmas Budget Structure 

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:-

Category 1 – Gifts

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. 

  • Once you have set the sub totals of each category, you can set a practical estimate for emergencies.

Now, that you have the budget structure, read on for how to correctly fill-in each category’s list.

Get Started On Your Christmas Budget

Now that you have your budget planner, here are 4 easy steps to get you started:-

Step 1 – Start Budgeting Now

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:-

  • People

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.

  • Charitable Donations

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 

  • Holiday Travel Costs 

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   

  • Entertainment

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

  • Food and Drink 

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

  • Redeem your gift cards, coupons, loyalty points

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.  

Step 2 - Shop Early. Hunt For Deals

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:-   

  1. Compare prices
  2. Bargain
  3. Get the “inside scoop”. Talk to shop/store attendants for a heads-up on upcoming offers

Step 3 - Consider Personalized / DIY Gifts

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. 

  • Some places to checkout are Maasai market, gift shops, curio shops and stalls that sell African handicraft (e.g. belts, bags, baskets, wallets, artwork, beadwork etc.)

TIP: A quick browser search to buy handmade gifts in Kenya will get you sorted out, in minutes   

Step 4 - Organize or Consider Group Holiday Packages

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.

Think Debt-Free. Stress-Free Holiday 

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?   

Gathoni is a skilled content developer with over 5 years of experience in content development as a graphic design and copywriter, in different industry sectors. Her passion to nurture positive, stronger, communication impact continues. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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