How to Keep on Top of Your Finances During the Festive Season
It’s Christmas! A time for fun, family, laughter…and massive pressure on your wallet.
The festive season is the most expensive time of year for many of us. But with a bit of careful planning, it doesn’t need to be a huge financial burden that leaves you struggling for months afterwards.
So how can you get through the Christmas period and start the new year with your books balanced? Here are our top tips:
Stick to a Budget
Christmas presents, food, decorations – the cost of Christmas can soon mount up. But this spending doesn’t have to tip you into the red if you think about what you expect to spend.
Work out how many people you’re buying presents for, cooking for, or having at your New Year’s Eve party. Once you know that, you’ll have a good idea how much it’ll all cost, so you can set yourself a reasonable budget beforehand.
Once you’ve worked out your budget, you can then make sure you stick to it in the run-up to the big day.
Plan What You’re Going to Buy
It’s easy to pick up everything you see in the shops in the lead-up to Christmas, but that’s exactly how many people end up overspending and slipping into debt.
Instead, you should write down what you’re going to buy, from presents to food for your Christmas dinner, and cross them off as you get ready for the festive season.
That should help stop impulse buying and spending more than you can afford on things you don’t really need.
Save Money Throughout the Year
Your December pay packet will only go so far, as you still have your regular bills and outgoings to meet.
So it makes sense to put a little bit of money aside all year round, so you have a fund to dip into when the festive season arrives.
Small savings can add up into a healthy sum, and if you pledge to set aside a particular amount every month, you will know in advance exactly how much money you’ll have available.
Don’t Borrow Money
Only spend money you have, rather than rely on credit cards or short-term loans, as this can cost more in the long run and hit your credit score if you struggle with your repayments.
Don’t Wait to Buy Presents
Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be done at the last minute. Pick up presents all year round, so the cost of the festive season can be spread out over 12 months.
Research the Market
Different shops will charge different amounts for certain items, so it’s well worth researching the market for the lowest prices.
Shop around, both in physical stores and online, and you could bag yourself a few healthy discounts to help your Christmas budget go further.
If you want to keep a lid on costs this year, then making your own presents can make a big difference. That could be anything from a knitted scarf, a personal photo collage or a handmade Christmas card to homemade bakes and savouries at your New Year’s Eve party. The time and thought that has gone into the gift is just, if not more, valuable than any financial expense.
Start Saving for Next Year
If it’s too late for you to act on some of these recommendations this year, remember that you can still prepare early for next Christmas.
Many of our tips involve planning for Christmas all year round, so make sure you start the new year with these in mind so you’re ready for next winter.
If you do that, you’ll find yourself in a great position to make the most of Christmas 2022.