6 tips for a budget-friendly festive season
A key way to have a budget-friendly festive season is to – lo and behold! – work out a budget. Here are our tips on how to do it.
- You can create your budget in a program like Excel, or perhaps try the variety of free festive-season budget templates available online. Basically, use the tool that works best for you. If you’re a spreadsheet whiz you can be quite detailed about your planned spend.
- There are a number of ways you can structure your budget: you might want to set a general cap or break out each spending area into a separate sheet and set caps for each category – that is, one for Christmas food and wine, one for presents and one for holidays.
- Don’t forget to factor a contingency column into your budget. Contemplate adding five to 10 per cent for unexpected expenses and inflation. If last-minute costs do pop up you’ll be covered, and if they don’t you’ll have a bonus sum left at the end to use as you wish.
- If working with numbers isn’t your forte, you might like to create a visual reference for spending your money – perhaps pictures of your goals alongside a thermometer goal chart to monitor the dollars.
- Putting money into a kitty (that is, labelled envelopes or jars) might work best for you, and it’s also a good way to teach children about saving. Most transactions these days are online, electronic and paperless, so seeing the actual dollars and visualising how they are spent is a valuable lesson.
- If you’re taking the spreadsheet route, set up a column for entering receipts, or make a separate ‘spending’ spreadsheet. This can work in one of two ways – you’ll either enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you’re sticking to your budget or you may find you’re struggling, in which case your budget will help highlight where you’re going wrong and the consequences of overspending.