How do I save for Christmas?
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be very stressful as you try to find time to run a business AND keep everything together for Christmas. It is one holiday that needs a Project Manager. There is also the cost of Christmas which can go into the thousands with presents, food, decorations etc. Below is a guide of how to save for Christmas, and how to take every step this year so you have a map for Christmas every year. Following the below list will mean you have the cost of next Christmas all covered by next October, and all your to do lists mapped out for every year.
Planning the Christmas Presents:
Use a spread sheet or paper if you prefer. Down the left side write the names of every person who you will be buying a present for, don’t forget to include yourself because your husband/wife/partner will be buying a gift for you that comes out of your home budget, so it needs including. Also don’t forget to include any pets you will be buying a treat for.
Once all names have been listed next to each name write the amount you would like to spend on each person, eg:
- Bob £50
- Jane £30
At the very bottom of the list write Wrapping paper/ Christmas bags/Tags etc and put an amount of maybe £30 to cover this.
Now total all the amounts in the present list and put the total at the bottom of the spreadsheet or page you are using. By the time you have finished this list you will have:
A list of who you need to buy for which can be ticked off as you buy the presents
A budget of how much you will be spending over Christmas on present. As you buy the presents write the actual amount you spent per person/pet/wrapping on the right-hand side of your sheet next to each relevant person. Total the full cost once everything is bought. Now you have an exact amount you spent.
Planning the Christmas Cards:
You can think of buying Christmas cards as a small job that just needs a pack of cards from the local supermarket, but many people can spend from £3 to £5 per card buying special cards for loved ones. To capture what needs buying, and the reality of the cost start another page or tab on your spread sheet and call it Christmas Card List:
- On the left write all the names of those you need to send Christmas cards to,
- On the right put a budget of £3 to £5 per person you will be buying a special card for,
- Count all the other names and this will tell you how many packs of cards you need to buy at maybe £2 to £5 per pack.
Once you have purchased the cards write the actual cost of all the Christmas cards at the bottom of your Christmas card sheet. You now have a budget for your Christmas cards and a list ready for next year of everyone you will send cards to.
Planning the Christmas food and drink:
Cost of food and drink at Christmas is one area that can quickly add up. Most families have the same traditions so have an idea of Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner, Boxing day food. Without a list or budget every year can become a chore when lists have to be made and everything checked twice…. Lets get this done this year so you are all prepared for future years.
- Start a new sheet of paper or tab on your spread called Christmas food & drink.
- Make a list of all the meals you will prepare over the holidays and what food will need to be purchased.
- Make a list of all the drinks you will enjoy over the holidays including tea/coffee/squash etc.
- Make a list of all those chocolates and other treats you deserve.
Now you have a shopping list ready. As you buy your food and drink keep a note on your spread sheet or paper of how much you spend as you go. At the end you will not only have a figure of how much you spend on food and drink over the holidays but also a shopping list that might just need small alterations every future Christmas, but the bulk of the work is done for every Christmas going forward.
How to save for Christmas next year:
Add all the amounts up from the 3 lists at the end of this Christmas and you have a full cost of Christmas for next year. Divide that cost by 10 months and each month save that amount in a separate bank account called the Christmas fund. By October next year you will have all the cost of Christmas covered, and 3 ‘to do for Christmas’ lists all ready.
Save your spread sheet or paper lists in a folder called Christmas Budget and put it somewhere safe for all future years. Every future year you can add names to lists as more loved ones are added to your family, and tweak costs as you need to.
Merry Christmas to you and your family from Force Accounting Ltd.