Getting your Christmas budget sorted: Where do you start?

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Christmas budget. Nobody likes that word Christmas budget – it seems to put constraints on fun before the fun’s even begun. But it’s not for any bad reason that we have to budget – Christmas especially demands a lot more of our bank accounts, wallets and credit cards. Sadly, it’s hard to know where to start – but that’s why we’re here to help you out.

It may not sound like the easiest task, but there are easy ways to itemise your costs early to ensure you’re getting the best for everyone. Here are the best ones to shortlist an overall price for…

1) The people you’re buying gifts for, as well as a Christmas budget for each.

Some people will naturally require more money than others when it comes to presents (e.g. your mum, when compared to a Secret Santa present), but this way you can standardise them. Don’t be afraid to save some wiggle room by listing sale-price purchases at RRP, either.

That said, it’s also important to put the feelers out on budgets that other people are sticking to. Ask your brother or sister how much they’re planning on spending; some may even propose, as some of us have experienced in the past, a “present amnesty” – effectively a “I won’t buy if you don’t” money-saving solution. It works for some – don’t count it out.

2) Christmas Budget for food and drink.

This budget is twofold; not only does it cover the cost of getting a supermarket shop in (which, it’s important to remember, can be easily restricted by shopping online and getting it delivered home), but it also should cover the possibility of going out to eat, whether it’s a lunchtime pre-Christmas bite with colleagues, or a wider meal with friends one night before the big day.

3) Christmas budget for travelling: petrol, trains, buses, etc.

Well, you’re going to have to get home somehow! While you may have an abode of your own, chances are you’ll be visiting relatives or friends at some point. With this in mind, it’s worth listing down the journeys you’ll make, and how much they’ll cost. Then, make sure that any train or coach trips are kept to their cheapest – check online for the best deal instead of buying at the station. You could save a fortune!

4) Cards – and the cost of posting them

You may or may not subscribe to the festivities of Christmas cards, but those who do know just how expensive it can be. After all, a first-class stamp is 63p! Get your list together, figure out who you can give cards to by hand, and go from there.

5) Any new decorations needed

Some people have dedicated boxes of Christmas goodies to go to when they’re putting together their festive ensemble, including fake trees – but you may need to top up your collection, or get a new spruce entirely. Draft a list of the things you need, and look at the cheapest options available. Even IKEA sells Christmas goodies now!