How to guide
The first tip in our festive season series suggests making a budget – celebrating with the financial basics. A good way to do this is to estimate how much is ideal to spend a year in advance (perhaps by adding up last year’s food, travel, gift and other expenses), divide by 12 then deposit the sum once a month into a dedicated account. Adjustments can be made for the rate of inflation from last year or changes in plans (such as going out for a meal instead of dining in or travelling to stay with a different relative).
Set a limit
But for those who like a little less structure to their budgeting – but to still ensure spending is under control – try setting a spending limit that is affordable (say, €300) then buying until the spend limit is reached but not exceeded. The idea is a little like the “reverse budget” in our six budgeting tips. It means expenses do not need to be tracked but an upper limit is still in place. Again a dedicated bank account or a cash-only spending style may help prevent going over budget.
There's always next year...
For those who blow the budget in 2011, think ahead to 2012. After all, budgeting can start a year in advance. It’s always a good time to beat procrastination.