The Christmas countdown has begun. This is the most expensive time of the year for the majority of people. If you have children or you have a large family, you’ll likely spend hundreds of pounds on gifts before you even think about entertaining, travelling to see loved ones or trying to cover the cost of days off work. There’s no getting away from the fact that this time of year is pricey, but there are ways to save money and get your finances in order before Father Christmas takes a trip down the chimney.
If you don’t already take a few minutes each month to draw up and work out a budget, now is an excellent time to start. Budgeting can alert you to potential cash flow issues, and it can also help you organise your finances more effectively. If you know that you have a lot of presents to buy or you’ve offered to cook dinner for the in-laws this year, start shopping or saving now. Put some money aside or tick off a few names on the gift list to reduce pressure later in the year. If you can spread the cost, this will help prevent you from surviving on slim pickings from your salary in December and January.
Budgeting is straightforward. All you need to do is create a spreadsheet or use an app or even a pad and paper to write down your outgoings and income. This will give you an idea of how much you have available to put in your festive fund. If you don’t have much money, set a budget and stick to it. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great time, and you don’t want to spend Christmas on the Internet trying to learn more about bad credit loans. Work out what you can afford to pay with the income you have over the next few weeks and plan where your money will go.
There are myriad ways you can make the festive period fun and reduce spending. Good examples include doing a Secret Santa instead of buying every sibling or niece and nephew a gift and asking family members to bring a bottle, a bag of vegetables or a pudding with them on Christmas Day.
Gifts are usually the most significant expense at Christmas time. It’s an excellent idea to start shopping as early as possible and shop around for the best prices. At this time of year, stores are competing for customers, and you’ll find plenty of sales, discounts and offers. The Internet is a great resource, as it enables you to compare prices quickly and easily. If you’ve got ideas in mind, keep checking prices from various retailers and subscribe to voucher sites and mailing lists. If you can save 10, 20 or even 30 per cent on each present you buy, you’ll get a lot more for your money.
Christmas is coming. While many of us look forward to the festive period, there’s no doubt that it can be a stressful time, especially when it comes to money. Start preparing now, set a budget and always shop around for the best deals.