I really do like this end of the year. It can get a little busy and crazy at times, but it is lots of fun. Over the last couple of years I have had a 10 week preparation plan in the lead up to Christmas. It has helped enormously to smooth out the peak busy periods and let me enjoy the festive season much more.
We are heading to my home town for Christmas this year, so the preparation plan has an emphasis on Christmas away from home. Each week I will be posting about the key activity I have focused on. Also to get into the festive spirit of things, I will be holding a number of excellent giveaways over the next ten weeks – so look out for opportunities to add to your Christmas present stash!
- 10 Weeks To Go – Review Christmas budget (see below!)
- 9 Weeks To Go – Start making the family Christmas cards
- 8 Weeks To Go – Make food packs to donate
- 7 Weeks To Go – Christmas present ideas (ones that are easy to pack)
- 6 Weeks To Go – Finish hand made gifts
- 5 Weeks To Go – Finish Christmas tags
- 4 Weeks To Go – Handmade Christmas decorations
- 3 Weeks To Go – Cooking Christmas treats
- 2 Weeks To Go – Make arrangements for the house
- 1 Week To Go – Christmas celebration with family before we go
10 Weeks To Christmas – Review Christmas budget
I have found the best was to keep expenditure under control at this time of the year is to have a budget and track expenditure against it. This is what our Christmas Budget Spreadsheet looks like:
We have another spreadsheet that is integral to keeping us on budget. It tracks expenditure on all Christmas presents, for family and friends. Also by documenting what presents we buy each year, we have a comprehensive list to refer to, preventing buying people the same thing year after year.
Both of these spreadsheets can be found in the one file and you can download a template here 2010 Planning With Kids Christmas Planning Spreadsheet.
We have kept our family budget the same for the last few Christmases even though our family has expanded. The budget won’t change this year either. Key factors helping us to keep to budget have been:
- Closely monitoring expenditure.
- Buying at sales through out the year.
- Hand making gifts for teachers, friends and family.
How do you keep yourself to budget at Christmas time?