Unveiling a plan for Christmas spending
Make a budget
Yep, budget is word filling us all with doom at the moment, but it’s necessary for us all to get through nights out and shopping coming up to Christmas. It sounds boring but not quite as boring as the enforced detox you could be having ’til the spring if you overspend.
Knowing exactly how much you have and can afford to spend is the only way you can avoid leaving yourself short.
Take a leaf out of Santa’s book
Make a list of all of your family and friends who have been good boys and girls this year, check it twice. Set out how much you want to spend on each person, you may need to check that a few times too.
Making a list and sticking to is will stop you impulse buying and only come home with what you need. It also helps prevent buying tat in a panic if you know what you’re looking for.
Time is priceless
Instead of buying gifts donate some time. It’s the most valuable thing we have, so offer up some free labour. Maybe offer to paint your nan’s kitchen or make a promise to do some gardening for your mum. These gifts can mean more than anything you could have bought in a shop.
Make up some vouchers and print them off so you have something to give on the day. For brothers, sisters or friends with young children you could make up vouchers for babysitting, have no doubts, they’ll be appreciated and cashed in.
Making gifts can be cheap and fun. You can turn it into a social event and have some mates over for a christmassy craft day. Handmade gifts are more thoughtful and also lessen the chance of giving someone something they already have, or will get this Christmas.
Take out the amount of cash you want to spend and leave the credit card at home, this way you’re not spending what you don’t have. Knowing there won’t be any nasty credit card bills to look forward to in January can make Christmas all the more enjoyable.
If you have a big family or large group of friends then a secret santa may be the way to go. Think about it, you know yourself, it’s way better to get one really good gift you love and will use compared to 100 different pairs of reindeer socks.
If you’re feeling stressed about money this Christmas, talk to your family and friends about it. You’re certainly not the only one, a lot of people feel the same and could be relieved if you bring it up.
Some families set price limits on gifts and some only buy for children. You could make an agreement with your friends to not exchange gifts this year. Either way talking about it will ensure everyone has realistic expectations on what you can afford and no one will be left disappointed.
What Christmas is really about
Although we can’t deny it, Christmas can be a whirlwind of shopping, presents, eating too much and drinking to much.
But, apart from the religious origins Christmas can be a time to catch up with friends who are home, family you never see and to take some time out for yourself at the end of the year. It’s surprising each year how quickly we can all forget about presents. Try to remember that when you’re feeling the pressure.
Have a look at some general budgeting tips.