Posted by Candy on 15th Jun 2016
Christmas is a happy, festive time of year full of gift giving, indulgent meals, and spending time with loved ones, yet many of us probably feel overwhelmed and strapped for cash, going into debt to cover the cost of ‘oh, it’s only once a year’ thinking. Well, we know Christmas comes only once a year and we have a whole year to plan for it!
So to help you live a little more stress free over Christmas here are 5 ideas to help take away some of that financial overwhelm:
Start setting money aside now
Plan your Christmas budget – gift list and ideas, food, drink, decorations and so on.Think about what you might normally spend at this time of year, taking into account any other bills as well. Then put aside a specified amount each time you are paid either into a savings account or even your sock drawer! Even if you start now you still have six months to save.
Plan your shopping
Having an idea of what you want to buy for who, will really help you to plan ahead. Even having an idea of the type of food you will need can be a big time and money saver. Research items and compare prices so you know where to shop and when. Start buying gifts early and set them aside in a special “gift cupboard”. Buy a few grocery items each time you go food shopping and set them aside too.Just don’t forget where you put anything!
Laybying larger gifts a number of months before Christmas can really reduce your December spend.Most large department or chain stores offer layby and you can take advantage of their sales throughout the year, paying gifts off early.
Pare down the gift giving
If you really want to make a difference in your budget, reduce your spending limit. Buy one or two gifts for each of your kids, rather than 10-15 toys they’ll use that day and never touch again.Think quality, not quantity. Also, if you have a large extended family that keeps growing, consider talking about eliminating gifts all together, or buying a gift for each family unit, rather than individually, or perhaps discuss a Secret Santa arrangement so you only have to buy one gift.
Of course, throughout all of this, make sure you track your spending so you aren’t over doing it even though you are spreading it over the year. And lastly,
Plan for next year
As you are wrapping gifts, making cookies, or decorating the tree, make note of what you have, what you use, and what you’re going to need for next year.
Just because wrapping paper and boxes of ornaments are 70% off after Christmas, doesn’t mean you need to add to your stash. Look at what you will actually use, and buy items based on needs, not finds. If you already have some idea of what gifts you might give next year, shop the Boxing Day sales and bag a bargain!
With some of these ideas in place hopefully your Christmas this year will be financially easier and more stress free and giving more of a joy than a burden and shopping with less stress a little more fun.