How to budget for Christmas spending and support your local, female-owned and eco-friendly businesses at the same time.Do you get to the first week of January and realise it’s toast and Netflix until Australia Day? Maybe the car rego is due, payday is weeks away and once again Christmas and social obligations spending have wiped you out. The combination of gifts, partying and all those little extras can mount up and mean your savings account is near zero and the credit card has taken a hammering.
So, if it happens every year, then maybe it’s time to create a Christmas budget.
All I want for Christmas is a clear credit card
Rather than being restrictive, a Christmas Budget provides you more freedom to enjoy your spending. Normally, as you socialise your way through the Silly Season and shop your way through December, there is that nagging fear that you might be spending beyond your means, without really wanting to investigate further. By shining a light on your expenses and preparing for the spend, you take away that doubt and anxiety and get back the joy.
Create a simple spreadsheet or list with the dates you expect to go out over Xmas - above and beyond your normal socialising; the probable increase in food you expect to purchase; a list of the presents you expect to buy. Why not look back at your credit and debit card statements from December 2020 and January 2021 as a memory prompt?
Whatever the total is, mark or transfer that amount of money as your spending money, which you can access as you go. Or transfer to your credit card as you spend.
If you’re hosting a festive dinner party for instance, then arrange who is bringing dessert and who is bringing canapés - people are only too happy to get involved as part of the Christmas spirit.
Where are you buying your gifts, and who for?
For many of us, gifts are going to be the majority of the Christmas spend. It may sound slightly Scrooge-like, but review who you’re buying for. Maybe there are some people on your usual list that you can broach the idea of scaling back a little. It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone and they might be having the same thought.
Rather than adding to rampant consumerism, there are also lots of meaningful and even charitable ways to show your love for someone over the festive period, without lots of expenditure.
Other ways to wind back spending include:
Agree to just buy for the kids in your life.
Arrange a fun Kris Kringle with your closest group of girlfriends – with a very small budget and lots of imagination.
Create memories for people by framing your favourite pictures from the past year.
How to support local
With the core list of people you’re buying for compiled, next think about whether there are some local options for buying you can explore that will be great for the community, as well as your nearest and dearest.
These days just about every small business will have some sort of voucher system for gift giving. Maybe, it’s your local deli, local florist or even local hairdresser or nail bar. You can arrange something unique and meaningful for your friends and family.
Some local ideas:
10 free coffees at a favourite local cafe.
A personal training session at the local gym.
A meal at a favourite local restaurant.
A beauty treatment from a friend’s mobile business.
Try sydneyexpert.com/sydney-christmas-gift-guide to spark your imagination.
Female-owned businesses, eco-friendly businesses: mindful spending at this time of year
As well as local, there are other areas of the community that would welcome your spend.
If you want to support your sisters over the holiday season, then seek out businesses that you know are female owned and run. Try Global Sisters directory of businesses. Global Sisters aims to support women to be self-employed by removing structural and systemic barriers. There is also a directory at Female Owned that can help if you need some ideas on where to start.
But most of us know someone who is trying to carve out a living doing something beautiful and imaginative, and who might need a lift at Christmas following the past two years.
And, think sustainable.
So, are you making a list? Are you checking it twice? Have yourself a merry little Xmas - but also a mindful, well-budgeted one.