Christmas is right around the corner, and with this time of year comes additional spending that can put pressure on the budget. The festive season can be fun, enjoyable and relaxing but it can also prove to be financially stressful. Between decorations, gifts, events, and big meals, it’s easy to get swept up in the expenses that come along with Christmas. Without careful planning the finances might take a hit that can cause an impact for several months. The excitement in the air at this time of year can cause us to get swept up in the spirit of Christmas, so it’s important to be smart with the budget during the holidays, more so than any other time of year.
Budget and make a list for gifts
It may seem like common sense, but budgeting and creating a list can be the difference between sticking to a plan or getting caught by surprise when the costs come in. Last minute gift-buying generally ends up being more expensive if you’re buying in a panic. No-one wants to be left shopping in the final hours of the shops being open on Chrismas Eve!
Make a list of who you’ll be buying for so that no-one gets forgotten about and the last-minute panic is avoided. In addition, when you make a list and break it down into a budget, you’re more likely to stick to an affordable plan. It’s a simple way to ensure you’re able to shop for the holidays without impacting your finances.
Shop for Christmas through the year
There’s no better way to save during the holidays and avoid debt than getting started on Christmas shopping earlier in the year. If you see something the kids will love during a major sale in June, lay-by so that you can take advantage of the cost saving and give yourself a few months to pay it off. If you can hold off until after Christmas, Boxing day sales are a great way to shop for clothes and gifts at a fraction of the cost. Stock up on a load of things for the coming year at a price much lower than usual.
It’s possible to find some of the best deals on the latest products when you shop online. Whether it’s groceries, electronics, clothing or sporting goods, there are tons of online shopping sites whose entire business is offering products at prices lower than offline store-fronts. Even if you don’t end up making your final purchase online, doing your research before you hit the shops can ensure you get the best deals available.
Think outside the box
It’s easy to forget that Christmas isn’t about spending. Rather than getting swept up in the retail frenzy, think of alternative presents that can bring a lot of enjoyment and show a personal touch. For kids, give a gift of music or sport lessons instead of another toy. For a family member, frame a meaningful photo or give home-baked items for teachers and friends. Whilst these gifts might take a bit more time to prepare, they’re sure to stand out from the rest.
Don’t over-do Christmas lunch
It’s easy to forget to account for things that don’t go under the tree – sometimes the cost of entertaining can be forgotten about when budgeting for the festive season. Christmas Day lunch or dinner costs can add up, so take the pressure off and ask your guests to bring a side, and provide the turkey or ham yourself. Not only is it a great way to save a bit of money on your grocery shopping, but it also gets everyone involved at a time of year when collaboration and family enjoyment should be a top priority.