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Christmas budget checklist
By Tammy May

Today is the 25th of September, which means that it’s exactly three months until Christmas. Thirteen weeks to be precise! If you haven’t already created a budget for Christmas, this is the time to do it.

One of the biggest costs at Christmas time is gift giving, but other expenses add up quickly, too, even if you plan to spend Christmas at home.

Make sure that your Christmas budget takes into account things like extra groceries, extra petrol if you’ll be driving, cards and wrapping supplies, postage, decorations, entertaining and going out, and extra telephone costs if you have a number of friends and family to call.

Some people also need to take income fluctuation into account at Christmas time. You might get more money from extra hours or leave loading; others might see a drop in pay due to a Christmas shutdown or unpaid leave.

If you’ll be travelling for Christmas, you’ll need to think about transportation costs, accommodation, and eating out. Perhaps you’ll also need to budget to get your car serviced or buy new tyres before taking a long trip.

Here’s a Christmas budget checklist to get you started:

  • Extra food/drinks/groceries (on top of your usual shopping budget—don’t forget things like serviettes, paper plates etc.)
  • Extra phone costs
  • Extra petrol
  • Gifts
  • Christmas cards
  • Postage
  • Wrapping paper and supplies
  • Decorations (for the tree, house, table etc.)
  • Batteries (especially important if you have kids!)
  • Entertainment, events and social activities
  • Keeping the kids busy (you might go on more outings or rent extra DVDs)
  • Income fluctuation

When it comes to budgeting for gifts, do what Santa does and make yourself a detailed list that includes the person’s name, the budgeted amount for their gift, and any gift ideas that come to mind. Start looking for presents now, especially when you see a sale. You can also start collecting non-perishable food and other items now (eg. custard powder, frozen vegetables, drinks, serviettes, and batteries.)

The most important thing is to budget for a Christmas you can afford. That might mean cutting back on your gift budget or asking family members to bring a dish when they come for Christmas dinner. And who says that you have to have a big roast for Christmas? You could have a picnic at the beach or sandwiches at a local park.

Remember, MyBudget is always here to help. If you want to talk about your Christmas budget, please give us a call.

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