I’m going to say it, and you’re probably not going to like me for it, but it’s only 98 sleeps until Christmas. Yes, yes, I know many of you are only just recovered from the long summer break, which at times has most likely left you pulling your hair out, but as we welcome a new season, it suddenly dawned on me how close Christmas Day actually is!
And, with the kids already pointing out what they want off the big fella in red at every opportunity, I realised that I must find the time to sit down and evaluate my finances, after promising myself that this Christmas, I would take control of my spending to avoid facing financial difficulty in the New Year.
I don’t know about you but as soon as the festive season begins, I feel myself becoming completely wrapped up in festivities, kids’ parties (and adults’ parties too!), and all of the other happy times that come hand in hand with the Christmas period.
Every year, like many people, I struggle with managing our family finances over the festive season. After all, when jingle bells is blasting out of the speakers in your favourite department store, decorations are catching your eye in all directions, and you’re surrounded by mountains of enticing gifts for your friends and family, it’s easy to lose track of what you are spending!
But, with Christmas only a matter of weeks away, for once in my life, I am going to take my own advice.
Set a budget and stick to it!
Covering the cost of Christmas is often the cause of family arguments and domestic strife. So, myself and my partner have promised ourselves that we are going to set strict budgets this year, so that we’re not out of pocket come the new year.
I have asked all the kids to write down a list of the presents they would like, and I will accommodate as many as I can within budget. Equally, I have sat down and compiled a list of presents that I need to purchase for family and friends, and set a price limit that fits in with our household budget.
If you have a large extended family with lots of people to buy for, it might be worth implementing a ‘children only rule,’ – this should take away some of the financial pressure! And, most importantly, don’t feel pressured into spending what you can’t afford!
Although you shouldn’t feel pressured into spending what you haven’t got, for many families, covering the cost of Christmas does require them to look at the options of credit.
And although, it’s not ideal, when managed responsibly it can help you to spread the cost of Christmas. If you are considering credit, it’s a good idea to check out your credit report before you apply – find out more here.
Make the most of vouchers
Money off vouchers are great for making significant savings during the Christmas period and, although many of them end up in the bottom of your handbag, if you find the time to use them, there are lots of savings to take advantage of.
So, rather than forgetting about them, or throwing them in the bin, make sure you keep them safe, and if you know when you are going to go shopping pick them up and use them!
Start as early as possible
Planning and preparation is the key to managing your money effectively during the festive period!
Leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute will only leave you more likely to panic buy and overspend, as you frantically explore the shops for the perfect presents (I’ve been there and got the T-shirt!). If you are organised and have a clear idea of what you are looking for before venturing out into the Christmas crowds, you’ll be more likely to stick to your budgets!