Christmas is over for another year but now is actually a good time to touch on Christmas budgets.
It feels like ages since I’ve written a proper blog post. Like many people, I took advantage of the Christmas period by spending quality time with family and relaxing.
I have lots of blog posts in my head for 2018 but first wanted to share how our monthly budget went. This is for your entertainment, encouragement, (or to compare with – and be glad that you’re doing better!).
For anyone who celebrates any of the winter festivals (be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, etc,) you no doubt encountered costs that fell outside your typical monthly budget. We’re no different, How we all manage those additional costs will vary, however.
For new readers, you’ll see that I use percentages, rather than monetary amounts. This is both to respect my husband’s wish to keep our income private (it’s a low income) and to give a better comparison, per category, for whatever size budget you’re working with.
Here’s How It Went for Us
Mr.B’s wages were on the lower than usual side, due to him having some sick days in December.
December’s Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of December’s net/after-tax income) :
- Mortgage: 23%
- Council tax: 6.3%
- Gas and electricity: 3.4%
- Water: 2.4%
- Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs) 8.8%
- Internet and landline: 1%
- Life assurance: 1.3 %
- Mobile phone bills: 0.5 %
- My dental insurance: 0.6%
- Mortgage overpayment: 0%
- Pensions: 0.3% (In November 2017 Mr.B was been enrolled in his workplace pension. The amount taken from his wages is the compulsory minimum required. The percentage we’ll be adding when actively investing in our pension funds will be higher).
- Holiday savings: (‘vacation’) 0%
- Emergency fund savings: 31%
- Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, makeup, and gifts for each other on special occasions): 8.1%.
- Petrol: 1.3%
- Miscellaneous/unexpected buffer: In relation to December’s income, our total miscellaneous spend was 0.8%.
- Sinking funds: (the linked article explains these): 12.5% allocated to our short-term savings.
- 7.5% of our total December income was then spent from the sinking funds on the following:
- Some Christmas and January birthday gifts.
- A new hot-water bottle and cover!
Now, I have to say that the percentage we spend on Christmas gifts is much lower than your average family. That’s due to:
- As a couple, we don’t celebrate Xmas, yet have felt obliged by our family to get involved, even on a small scale.
- The gifts we buy for each other come from our individual ‘allowances’, so that doesn’t show up in the figures.
- My mother-in-law puts together the most amazing hamper for us each year. While it’s not food for ‘proper’ meals, it’s packed with ‘naughty’ food and plenty of booze!
- I’d predict that we spend less than half on gifts for people than what the average person spends. We only buy for parents/step-parents, my grandmother, and our 10 nephews and nieces.
December 2018 will be different. We’ve decided that December 2017 was the last year that we celebrate Christmas at all. We haven’t yet told all the family. My mother-in-law has insisted that she still wants to give us a hamper because it brings her joy. I’m not going to rob her of that. We aren’t doing it for monetary reasons. The money we would allocate to the people we buy gifts for will go towards their birthday instead. This means we’ll be spending the same amount on each person, but yearly rather than twice yearly.
How was December for you? How do you divide up your budget? Do you need to make a budget? Did you spend more than you’d intended? If so, why? I’d love to know how everyone else did.
You may also be interested in reading: ‘How to Save Money on Christmas 2017‘, ‘A Peek into Our Monthly Budget‘, which is the template we use each month, ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘, and ‘Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?‘