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How to control your expenses at Christmas time?

Christmas times are considered as a period in the year, in which we usually spend more money than the rest of thr months.

These expenses are consequences that are usually due to the excesses we live on those dates, which are:

  • Large banquets between family and friends.
  • Extraordinary parties.
  • New clothes for both adults and children.
  • Gifts for the little ones in the house, ranging from toys to electronic devices.
  • Gift exchanges between adults.
  • Christmas ornaments such as the tree, the manger and the lights.
  • Assistance to parks and shopping centers for Christmas bazaars.
  • Donations to the needy.
  • And if you live in North America from the month of November, the festivities of Thanksgiving and the popular Black Friday (where they put all the merchandise on offer) begin.

If you are a person like me who loves to do all these activities at Christmas and be a modern Santa Claus, or you are a father or mother. You must constantly measure what you spend, so that in the month of January you have a support or support of money, in case of any eventuality.

And as who they say so that the new ruined year does not catch you, please follow these tips that I have already used for three consecutive Christmas, when I was employed and when I became independent, and i hope these would come you handly.

If you are a person who works under a dependency or employee relationship, follow these tips to control your expenses at Christmas time:

As for the banquets:

It is best to start planning from July or August, you can allocate 5% of your salary for the expenses of these dates, so you would have 30% of your monthly salary, to allocate it to the banquets of December. This is for people living in stable economies.

If you live in inflationary economies, I recommend that you save 10% and convert it into currencies of greater weight such as the dollar or the euro. So you will have 60% protected, to cover the banquets of these holidays.
Make a budget of all the ingredients and food you need, and do not leave it, if you buy it little by little, much better, and keep it in the fridge (so I do).
With this we have the food covered, it is more than enough to cover the dinners that are made on these dates.

Another tip is if you have a large family and if you meet them for these dates, the ideal is to share the expenses of these banquets. Each family can carry a series of ingredients and cook banquets together, this encourages saving and sharing.

Also if they decide to cook separately, a family can take care of drinks, or also snacks, another family of the main course and the last of dessert.
Heads of household can also go to the market in an establishment and pay the Christmas market for banquets equally.

And if it is between friends you can implement these tips, so the banquets will be cheaper. The idea is that everyone collaborates and shares are shared equally.

Also these tips are for Christmas parties, where everyone can collaborate with something and not do them in a club because the rent would be expensive. The ideal would be to make them in a large and comfortable house, and that everyone is willing to clean it, after the party. It doesn’t have to be a lavish and expensive party, just enjoyable for the guests.

In reference to the clothes or new releases:

This is a relatively large expense, because it covers clothes, shoes and accessories for adults and children in the house.

In this case you must give priority to the premieres of the little ones. Because they are the protagonists in the Christmas season and they wear their clothes faster than adults.

I recommend that during the month of September you allocate 20% of your salary, to advance the purchase of shoes for infants, since these are the most expensive. Then for your clothes allocate 10% of your salary for the month of October in that area.

To make everything cheaper, evaluate physical store options, and online and if you buy in large quantities they can give you a discount.

It also evaluates what clothing items are necessary for children, in particular the most feasible to buy is:

  • For boys: a pair of pants to go out, a shirt, underwear (5 pieces), a chemise and a functional pajamas for the whole year, is more than enough.
  • For females: it is cheaper to buy dresses because it is a single piece of clothing, you can buy a couple of dresses, or if your girl does not like dresses very much, buy her a jean and a flannel along with a dress, intimate clothing (5 pieces) and a cute and comfortable pajamas, with this you will have your premieres.

Thus you leave the children’s expenses and only 30% of your monthly income will be allocated and prorated. If you live in an inflationary economy you can convert the percentage into currencies, to avoid devaluation of money.

As for adults I emphasize that it is not necessary to buy new clothes, unless you have very damaged clothes. What I recommend is to reinvent the clothes you have with a tailor or have it done with a seamstress, or buy accessories to make your clothes look different.

You can also invest in basic and versatile pieces that you can use in the office or in the social field.

I am not an expert in fashion but invest in a good shirt and pants in neutral colors that combine with your wardrobe, and invest in good shoes. This expense I recommend doing when the company pays you the famous profits or bonuses.

Profits or bonuses are extraordinary wages that workers receive, in reward for their years of service and for a satisfactorily completed work year. They are calculated based on months of salary or percentages, depending on the country and the policies of each company.

When you receive this extraordinary remuneration, you can allocate between 40% and 50% to buy your clothes and invest in you. Because you have earned it and the rest you can use it in something else you need, such as paying off debts or other expenses, or investing them.

The more investments you make the better, so that in the future you don’t have financial problems.

It is ideal that when you receive this money you make a budget of priorities and leverage it, with only a slack of 3%.

Do not wait until December to make this expense, it is advisable to do so immediately when you pay the profits. If you live in North America wait for Black Friday and get the best deals.

December’s gifts:

This is another iconic expense at Christmas, especially when you see the letter addressed to Santa by the smallest of the house, or if you want to give a detail to your loved ones.

We start with children, where appropriate they can be toys, bicycles, skates and electronic devices such as video game consoles or Tablets. These are usually expensive and you have to buy them with time.

Rather if you can ask your children since August or September what they want for Christmas, it will be much cheaper and easier. Although the coolest toys and artifacts always appear, it is between November and December, and they are usually the smallest ones.

In case your children ask you for toys until the end, what I advise you is to keep from August 5% of your monthly salary. In inflationary economies, this percentage is converted into currencies. So for the month of December you would have saved 25% of your salary to cover toy expenses.

Always look for the best deals in online stores or buy directly from manufacturers or large toy stores, where discounts are exceptional. If you can buy them much better before, because the prices of toys tend to rise during the month of December due to the high demand.

In case you love making gifts or presents in these times for friends and family, what I recommend is that you buy them to the elderly and personalize them to your liking, this will be more economical.

A fantastic idea is the small antibacterial gels to the elderly, personalized with Christmas messages. Which is a cheap and useful gift for the recipient. There is a lot of e-commerce that offers this kind of services.

Like the sublimation of flannels, if you buy wholesale flannels and send them to be personalized with Christmas messages. Which is a large-scale gift and your friends and family will be happy.

If you are a designer or you like to design digitally, you can make personalized cards and send them via social networks. Which is a fun and practical way to give something away, which has cost us nothing, just the effort to do it and it will be much appreciated.

On the internet there are thousands of models of Christmas cards that you can use.

Christmas ornaments:

I particularly think that Christmas ornaments can be recycled over the years, unless some are damaged. Of the rest I don’t need to buy so many ornaments, unless you have a new house.

If you are going to buy them for the first time, invest in ornaments of very good quality that last a lifetime. This will bring you benefits in the future to not spend so much on the following Christmas.

You can buy them from the month of October in department stores, where it is cheaper. For this, allocate 10% of your salary in the month of October.

If you already have ornaments, reuse them but place them in different positions in your home. So that the decoration is different, if you want to renew them, do not change them completely. Buy versatile accessories to give them a different air every year. In this case, allocate only 5% of your monthly income in complementary ornaments.

Family walks:

In these Christmas seasons we usually walk a lot with family and friends, and even travel to visit or rest.

If you get used to this, prepare yourself financially. You can plan six departures, one weekly during the months of November and December, randomly. For these outings you can budget food and entertainment.

You can use 20% of your profits in these outings, or save 10% of your regular salary in the month of October and the other 10% in November. If you live in a country with economic difficulties, try to protect that savings in currencies, so that it is not devalued in December and you can share freely.

If you travel to visit, agree with your family, so that you stay at a family member’s home and collaborate only with food and outings. If you are not going to visit but to go for a walk, try to buy tour packages in August or September, for the Christmas dates, it will be cheaper, because the tickets and lodgings increase in December.

Well now I want to summarize these tips in a chart with percentages, so you have an idea of how to plan well with your salary and utilities, for each Christmas activity:

(U): means profits, it is the percentage you will use of your profits.

The percentages alone are what you will allocate from your monthly salary.

This table is by way of recommendation, it is not a strict rule to follow, if you can use a higher or lower percentage, it is valid. The important thing is that the table details the items with which they can make a Christmas budget without problems.

If you are in a country with high inflation rates, convert these percentages into currencies and support your savings, or buy things in advance and in parts. Which will make you less cumbersome and of course less expensive.

If you are a person who works independently, follow these tips to control your expenses at Christmas times:

In the case of free exercise people, income is variable and does not have profits or bonuses.

So the development of your Christmas budget should not have slacks or deviations and can be planned with more time in advance. Not to include profits, so that the cost is more amortized and not so heavy in December.

The tips are literally the same and the percentages of the income would be practically the same. But it would be more personalized according to your income each month. Based on this I will make the recommendation of the same table above, but you can change the percentages in the months that you require.

You can distribute the percentages of the profits that employees receive between more months of the year, following the fluctuations of your income over the months.

The picture for you independent professional can look like this:

The percentages that you could reduce would be those associated with the items corresponding to adult clothing and outings. In this case I used the percentages of the previous table only that I redistributed the profits better than the independent ones do not have at the end of the year.

Look this as a way of recommendation, it is not something strict, you can change the percentages the months you want or according to the fluctuations of your income. With this you will achieve a better planning to control your expenses at Christmas times and you will make a real and feasible budget, which fits your pocket.

If you are independent in countries with unstable economies, convert all your income into currencies or invest them. Protect all your assets and income in strong and stable currencies. Make purchases in advance at low cost, do not leave anything for last.

I implement these tips and they have helped me to improve my quality of life, and at the same time give me my luxuries in December.

I hope you have been very useful and have Merry Christmas! And happy new year.
Atte .: Mariajosé.
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