I know you must be thinking I have gone crazy, and maybe I have, but bear with me while I explain myself!
For years and years, I have never really known the true cost of Christmas, I mean does anyone? Even now with my budget I still find myself spending a little bit here and there and with starting Christmas shopping early in the year I always forget what I have brought and end up buying more for people than I had originally budgeted for.
This year I wanted to do something different. My amount saved for Christmas was £500 which I saved for by saving £50 per month from January, which I transferred to my credit card. I have then used the credit card for EVERYTHING to do with Christmas; Cards, presents, decorations, wrapping paper, food – you name it, if it’s been brought for Christmas, it’s gone on the card!
This may be the worst thing I could have done, but I need to know exactly how much I usually spend!
I have done this for two reasons, so that;
1) Future budgets incorporate ALL the costs of Christmas and,
2) To allow me to be more aware of what I am spending
I have bought for everyone I wanted to buy for this year but things that sometimes trip me up is last minute December bargains; cheap wrapping paper, cards, gifts that have been packaged just for Christmas that you can’t buy all year round, Christmas jumpers and ‘party’ wear. Also, Christmas events that you can’t really plan for as you don’t really know what companies are going to put on.
So, to be completely transparent I have listed all my payments made and received to my credit card since I started to use it for Christmas and who it was that I brought for.
It actually looks really scary! But here goes;
21/11 – Payment £-76.76
22/11 – Festive Studio £12.50 (Elf resources)
23/11 – Payment £-35.46
24/11 – Amazon £82.94 (Candy lights for outside, indoor lights, daughter gifts, book, window snowflakes)
25/11 – Asda refund £-17.00
26/11 – Etsy £4.70 (elf masks)
27/11 – Amazon £20.05 (Elf resources)
29/11 – Amazon £57.71 (Nephew’s gifts)
2/12 – Amazon £109.06 (daughter top, mum, trainers and book, scrunchies, me CD and hair conditioner)
3/12 – Amazon £73.90 (Brothers gift, 2 x books for my xmas gift and top for daughter)
3/12 – Amazon refund £-5.24
5/12 – Amazon £25.94 (Bestie gifts)
7/12 – Amazon £85.91 (Dad, Dad’s wife and Brother and Nana & Gramps gifts)
7/12 – Amazon £73.60 (Xmas packaging and choc – packaging was returned)
7/12 – Amazon £24.96 (Gifts for Great Nana)
8/12 – Amazon £12.99 (Grandparents book from Sophie)
9/12 – Amazon £14.72 (Mums present)
9/12 – Payment £500.00
11/12 – Amazon £42.59 (Mums husband)
11/12 – Amazon £36.97 (Gift for Dad and one for daughter)
12/12 – Amazon £46.46 (outside lights for house and outside tree)
14/12 – Amazon £18.98 (Onesie for daughter, car phone holder for me, xmas tree skirt for tree)
14/12 – Amazon £7.92 (Elf Resources)
15/12 – Pets at Home £24.50 (Dog and cats xmas presents)
16/12 – Amazon refund £-4.01
16/12 – Amazon refund £-49.95
16/12 – Game £354.98 (daughters main xmas present)
16/12 – Argos £102.96 (daughters main xmas present)
16/12 – Pets at Home £27.00 (dog xmas groom)
16/12 – Pets at Home £15.00 (dog xmas groom deposit)
16/12 – Amazon £49.61 (Daughter and Dad)
16/12 – Post Office £33.20 (Posting cards and gifts)
16/12 – River Island £40.00 (daughter xmas party dress)
16/12 – Next £10.00 (mum xmas plate present)
17/12 – Argos Refund £-24.99
18/12 – Petrol Station £24.00 (Teachers wine)
Ok, so not going to lie, this list is a shock. I know I have made a huge mistake and it makes me really sad to see all the gifts I have brought with no thought to my budget or my finances. I spent a total amount of £1433.15 against a budget of £500 so that’s £933.15 over budget!!!!
Let me just say that again … That’s £933.15 OVER BUDGET!
I know that’s really bad but considering all that badness, the lessons I have learnt in doing this are huge.
Firstly, I have learnt that the £500 budget I set was only just enough to cover the cost of my daughter’s presents and not everything else which I buy for. Not sure why I have done it like this, but I am guessing I did it because hers is my biggest and most important expense at Christmas, so I always make sure I have got enough for her.
And secondly, very stupidly I have realised that I need a budget for everything else! What I spent on house lights and elf on the shelve resources wasn’t even in the budget and yet that’s £150 not accounted for!!
Let’s just say lots of lessons learnt!!
Lesson 1 – I have made an excel spreadsheet for a complete budget for Christmas with EVERYTHING on
Lesson 2 – I am going to increase the monthly debit to my Christmas sinking fund from £50 a month to £84 to cover for everything I need, plus a little extra just in case. This will give me an overall budget of £1000.
Maybe this wasn’t the best idea but I really want to understand myself financially and this exercise has allowed me to see all my many weaknesses in spending, organisation and planning so this is something I can now use to improve myself. And I will. The credit card definitely has no place when your trying to pay off debt and work within a budget.
Thanks for reading