I always try to stay on budget at Christmas. I make lists, I plan ahead and I maximise sale days, discounts and loopholes where possible. I shop big so the more money I can keep in my pocket through Christmas Budgeting, the better it is for me to treat myself in the sales!
My biggest festive weakness is spur of the moment gifts or stocking fillers that all add up. I am trying to get better at this but it’s a work in progress! I have some great tips in this collaborative post to help you keep on track this year.
Keeping Your Finances on Track this Christmas
Christmas is great! It’s even better when you can finally settle down to watch The Grinch with a full belly, an after-dinner mint and a bank account that’s actually still in credit!
If this sounds like an impossible dream, then you’re not thinking smart enough, because you can have a great Yuletide without having to pay for it well into the next year. You just have to outwit your own bad habits until the shops close on Christmas Eve!
Start saving now
OK, you might think it’s a bit late to start, but it isn’t. Even if you only manage to stash away a few tens of pounds over the next few weeks, it’s money that you’d otherwise have blown on bottles of wine, chocolates and yet another hand cream to add to your already overblown collection.
It’s money that you’ve wrestled from the jaws of poor impulse control for the greater good of mankind; or at least for the good of your overdraft! If you tend to overspend or have trouble curbing your impulses and balancing the books, head to Creditfix for a good talking-to!
Make a very strict list of presents
This list must be costed and checked regularly. You’re only allowed to deviate from it if you find something just as good, or even better, for a lower price. Tick everyone off as soon as you’ve bought their gift and consider them catered for.
Have a no-presents agreement with a few people
You’d be surprised at how many people are feeling the same way as you this Christmas, so it’ll probably be a mutual relief if you don’t have to buy each other gifts. Of course, you can also have an under £5.00 or £2.00 rule as well, if you love to give, but just take the pressure and expectation out of things this year.
Make a plan
This isn’t quite the same as a list, but it helps just as much. If you have the loyalty card from a particular store and you know it’s doing a triple points promotion in the run-up to Christmas, then get in there! Once you’ve boosted your tally of points to a handsome amount, you can go for a second run in the days just before Christmas when prices are starting to come down. It’s all in the planning, see. This is just one example of the power of thinking ahead!
If you make any savings, use them wisely
If you find you’ve come in under budget, then congratulations! What you shouldn’t do, however, is go and blow it all on unguents! Remember, this is money you’ve snatched from the abyss, so treat it well.
If you have an overdraft or a credit card balance, use this spare money to pay it down. Debt costs money, thanks to interest, so think ahead to the next year and how much you can save by paying less in interest each month.
Alternatively, you could actually hit the January sales and buy in essentials for next year’s festive season. Items like fleecy socks, cute handwarmer pads and even fancy wrapping paper never go off or out of style, so bag them while they’re at rock-bottom prices. That’s a few presents accounted for already!