Helping you get through tough times

A time for giving…

Christmas presentsChristmas can be an expensive affair. There seems to be so many people to buy for and in such little time!

Green shoots

All this talk about the green shoots of a stronger economy is promising after all the doom and gloom. Maybe there’ll be more jobs for us in the New Year, but that doesn’t really help us much this side of Christmas does it?

Pressure

If you’re fortunate enough to be a natural at budgeting and saving, then it’s probably time to kick back and relax. For everyone else we’ve put together some tips on how to manage.

It’s worth noting that often the most pressure comes from ourselves and not other people – so do try to take on board some of the points below.

Budget

Yes, we’re sick of it, but budgeting is really the only way forward unless you’ve got loads of excess cash. Knowing how much you have to spend on people is the only way to avoid running up debt.

Sticking to your shopping list will help you to not impulse buy. If you know what you’re looking for before hitting the shops you’re also less likely to end up panicking about what to get.

Supporting Ireland on the Forbes’ list

In case you haven’t heard, Forbes magazine named Ireland as the best country for business. We’re sure this is great for all of us, but it doesn’t mean you have to single-handedly support those businesses by spending on credit.

Spending cash will prevent those interest rates building up, which means you’re less likely to be paying for Christmas until next June. If you’re using a debit card you’ll find you’re also less likely to overspend.

Get creative

Christmas and gift giving doesn’t have to equal spending loads of money. Use your imagination to come up with more inventive and often more appreciated presents. Not only can it be cheaper, but it can be loads of fun too – perfect to stoke up that festive cheer. To get those cogs turning we’ve put a few suggestions together:

  • Give time – it’s the most valuable thing we have, so offer up some of yours, even just to hang out, it’s extremely popular with older relatives
  • Create vouchers – for specific things like gardening, babysitting, a foot massage etc. (though be careful who you give that one to!)
  • Festive treats – get the apron out and bake something
  • Use your talents – what are you good at? Writing, music art? Make something personal, especially good for people you’re very close to.

Secret Santa

Perfect if you have a large family or gang of friends. It can be a way of keeping costs down and can take the stress out of thinking of lots of different gifts.

What’s your limit?

Agreeing to cap the amount spent on each person is a good way to make it easier for everyone to stick to their budget. Only buying for certain people can keep costs down – maybe the people you’re very close to. If you’ve a lot of young children in your family only buying for them and not the older family members is something to consider.

Enjoy yourself

Try not to lose sight of what Christmas is really about. If you’re religious then focus on that, but even if you’re not it’s good to focus on appreciating family and friends.

Have fun and if you find that you are getting anxious or stressed remember to talk to someone: either someone you know or else seeking out online and telephone help.

 

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