The month of December is different. Yes, the weather starts to get colder, the sun sets earlier each day, and, depending where you live, the snow starts to fall on the ground. But there are a lot of different things that happen that can bust your monthly spending plan if you do not plan accordingly. Christmas is definitely one of them, but hopefully you started to save to pay for Christmas back in January. If not, you need to scrape up some money to buy gifts. But below are some other expenses that can trip you up in the month of December.
Travel-If you are like most, you travel a lot more in December then in any other month. Budget accordingly, by putting extra money in your gas budget. Our family makes a few 150 mile round-trips between Christmas and New Year’s so we always have to plan for an extra fill-up or two. Are you making an overnight trip? If so do not forget about the cost of a hotel.
Food-We all like to eat a lot of food in December. But how are you going to pay for it? Hosting Christmas dinner at your home might save on your travel expenses. But your normal food budget will not survive having 15 adults over for a meal. Plan accordingly so you won’t have to wait until midnight of January 1 to restock your shelves.
Entertainment-My wife and I love to hang out with friends and family that are in town for the holidays but eating out can get expensive. Do not be forced to turn down a fun night with friends by not having enough saved for entertainment. Sit down and figure out how many plays, shows, or concerts you will be attending in December as well. There’s a lot of fun things that go on in December so be prepared to be able to go to the ones that you want to as long as they fit in your plan.
Budgeting for the holidays can be difficult sometimes, but only if you are reacting to the month instead of planning ahead. By planning ahead you will be able to choose what is most important to you and be able to pay for it instead of wondering at the end of the month what went wrong.
So what spending item do you have to change in the month of December?