I want to share some more budgeting tips with you to make your lives simpler:
‘Keep it simple’ and ‘plan ahead’….that’s it. We can all go home now. Just kidding.
It kinda is that simple though. Keeping things simple helps you to plan ahead without feeling overwhelmed and planning ahead helps things be simple in the future.
Let’s look at my favourite time of year, Christmas as an example (don’t be groaning because I said Christmas in August, you’ll thank me in a minute….well you might do after the maths….math is your friend, be nice to it!)
Christmas comes same time every year, so you know it’s coming….same with birthdays, weddings, baby showers; just about any occasion you have to buy stuff for. So you have a date, next comes the maths (I told you already, no groaning!)
You need to set your budget (with your spouse/partner if applicable….finances should be a joint effort).
Method 1: Your budget will be dependent on the amount of money you have available between now and the event e.g. I have £30 per month left over and 4 paydays until Christmas, gives me £120. So that’s my base to work with. I then need to write a list of things to buy and prioritize it: So for Christmas, prezzies for kids, hubby and parents are top of the list, then close family and friends, then extended family and parents of kids I’ve bought for (always do kids first as most parents will understand). Then plan what you want to get and set a budget per item, so other people’s kids get £5~ish spent on them, leaving a bit more for immediate family.
Method 2: Do the list of people to buy for or things to get and a budget next to them (helps to know what you’re looking to buy first) Total up this ideal budget and divide by number of months left. This sum can either be put away or you can buy as you go, but you now have a target amount each month to find.
Be realistic: If you want to take your spouse on that dream trip, but you have 20 nieces and nephews to buy for, it ain’t happening this Christmas! Start planning for next year (16 months from now) to save up. However, if it would stretch you a little, it may do you good. For example: My £120 above I know I can afford, but if my ideal budget is £200, then I have £80 extra to find, but over 4 months that’s only an extra £20 a month (suddenly seems more doable).
DO NOT take it out of essentials or credit!!!! Get creative:
Could you save money on something else? Make your own version? Buy it second-hand? Split the cost of ‘perfect gift’ with others who buy for the same person? Or even sell some stuff, to make some money and clear space for new stuff you’ll get at Christmas. (See How To Pocket Extra Cash or A Special Occasion for more saving and earning ideas.)
So how do you do it? Do you budget for big occasions? What’s on your calendar you could apply this to?
Happy budgeting Peeps!
P.S. Christmas is 20 weeks from yesterday! 🙂