Christmas isn’t usually associated with thriftiness. Just take Santa for instance – does he look like he’s been watching the budget? Hardly!
We all want our festive season to be a time of plenty, so we can celebrate with our family and friends. The reality is, though, the bills don’t wait for Christmas, and we all still have our usual commitments to meet. Here’s a few tips on making sure you don’t have to utter “Humbug” when December 25th rolls around.
Set Savings Goals
We all know that Christmas is a time of year we’re going to have expenses that fall outside our usual spending patterns. With this being said, chances are you know roughly how much you’re going to have to spend to make sure your Christmas decks the halls.
With this figure in mind, you’re able to set yourself a savings goal early in the year, and open a high-interest savings account to steadily work towards this figure. Use our handy online Savings Goal Calculator to track your progress, and set your goal slightly higher than what you think you’ll need, to cover any blow-out.
Get your budget in line early
There’s a lot to think about at Christmas – the food, the gifts, travel costs – it can add up quickly. If you don’t already keep a regular budget, starting one may help you better manage your festive expenses.
Knowing how much you can regularly put aside in savings each week/month throughout the year will help you decide on how much you’re comfortable to spend on the perfect Christmas. Check out our simple How-To Guide to Budgeting, and take advantage of our handy online Budgeting Tool.
Use credit wisely
If you prefer to use your Credit Card to cover all your Christmas expenses, be sure you’re fully aware of the interest-free period for purchases so that you’re not left with a debt hang-over early in the New Year.
Take the pressure off
We’ve all been there – in October, we offer to host the Christmas family gathering, with the best of intentions. As the day approaches, however, the guest-list grows, as well as the stress and costs of putting on a decent shindig.
Instead of shouldering all the costs of feeding and entertaining the family hoards, reach out to your guests and ask them to bring a plate, or to drop around in the days before the party to help out with the cooking or prep around the house.
Look, by October/November, you’ll probably know what your loved ones (read as – kids) are hoping for from Santa, so shop smarter. Look out for these items in any sales in the months leading up to Christmas, or opt for lay-buy if it’s available.
By getting in quicker, you’ll avoid the shops being sold-out of the ‘must-have’ toy of the year, and won’t have to resort to trawling eBay and paying grossly inflated seasonal prices.
Before you rush out and replace your Christmas display with all-new decorations to stay on-trend, just think for a second – is there really anything wrong with your tree from last year? Do you need that new tinsel and decorations?
If you’re planning to light up your home like Clark Griswold of National Lampoon fame, be sure you’re using low wattage LED light sets, and try and get ones with cut-off timers, so you’re not accidentally inflating your power bill by leaving the lights on overnight.
And finally, we’re living in the era of the home-grown, the organic, the locally sourced. Take advantage of this trend by making loved ones heartfelt gifts that don’t put any additional stress on your back pocket.
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