The Ultimate Guide To Setting Your Christmas Budget (and sticking to it)

Oh Christmas! How I loathe yet love you at the same time! Year in and out we begrudgingly face your craziness, your stress, your credit card debt- and all in the name of the “Magic”!”.

This year I’m making the conscious decision to turn it all around. I’m setting a budget and I’m sticking to it like glue. And as per the agreement with myself- I’m being extra organised by starting my Christmas shopping now. Which means, it’s budget time!

Now, before you start jumping for sheer, sarcastic joy ( for, I know how numbers excite you!) this is practical advice that you too can revel in. Why? Because, planned spendings equal SAVINGS! And More money equals more wine on Christmas day which makes “family time” so much more bearable. So dear Reader, just think about the #gainz.


Step 1) Set your Budget 

How much can you afford to spend?

Say my partner and I maintain an average $900 each week after fixed expenses (mortgage repayments, rent, car repayments, school fees, phone, internet, council rates, insurance, etc). Then we’ll spend an average $250 a week on groceries, $200 combined on takeaway, eating out, alcohol and lunches, $60 combined on gas, electricity and water, and $150 on fuel.

So that leaves us with a weekly deposit of $240 straight into our savings.

Ok now it’s your turn. (If your a sucker for a good spreadsheet, now may be the time to utlise those handy Excel skills). Start with your fixed expenses, then work in your variables to figure out how much you’ve got left. Got it? Cool, write it down.

Now, how much in savings will you have by Christmas? Simply multiply your figure by the amount of weeks left until “The most wonderful time of the year’. There are currently 15 more weeks out, so I’ll have an extra $3600 in my savings account. Yay!

I really don’t want to be spending all that $$$ in one go. You never know when a rainy day is coming, plus we’re saving for a post Chrissy vay-cay. With this in mind I am willing to spend $1000 on my Christmas.

Now I divide $1000 by 15 (for 15 weeks to go), and I know I’ve got an average of $66 a week to spend on Christmas from this week onwards.


Step 2) Track your Budget 

I know I can start chipping away at my $1000 budget but I need to organise and track my expenditure to avoid blow-outs.

First things first, list the people you’d normally buy for. Don’t forget to consider “Surprise presents”, decorations, gift wrapping, and where the food and alcohol is coming from. Distribute your budget accordingly.


Allocate your budget in order of priority. If you can already see that you’re going over it might be time to hit Pinterest for some great DIY ideas for colleagues and stocking fillers.

Limit the number of gifts the kids can put on their list. For example, ask them to choose 3 things that they really want. This will encourage them to appreciate what they have and stop you from over-spending.

Set realistic targets! There’s no use setting unachievable goals- you won’t stick to them and you’re going to be blowing out everywhere (hence the purpose of the budget is defeated and you’ve just wasted a whole hour working on a useless document).

Here’s my completed spread sheet:

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As you can see I’m making a lot of homemade coffee scrub this year!

I have to admit, I was quite surprised to see how quickly everything added up. Originally I had allocated $100 a festive outfit but had to scrap that when my budget blew out 🙁

Now I’ve got a clear goal and plenty of time, it’ll be a lot easier to find the best prices. It’s true what they say about the bird and the worm! So Fire up Excel and get cracking now- trust me you’ll be thanking me later 😉


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