Christmas is fast approaching and amongst all the festive parties and twinkling lights is the worry of how we’re going to pay for all this season’s fun.
We’re all guilty of overspending at this time of year. On average, each home spends more than £800 on food, gifts and socialising over the festive period so if we don’t keep an eye on where our money is going, our spending can quickly become out of control.
So, if you want to spend more wisely, we’ve put together some useful tips to keep you from overspending this Christmas.
1. Remember, Christmas Day is only 24 hours
We often forget that Christmas is just one day and that the shops are only closed for one or two days. Don’t panic, avoid overspending in the run-up to the big day, particularly on groceries that will just end up in the bin.
Be realistic – how much do you need in the house?
2. Make a list and check it twice!
Don’t rely on your memory or you’ll forget everything you need to buy and will end up making a mad dash to the shops on Christmas Eve.
Make lists - who you need to buy gifts for, food to get – and set a limit based on what you can afford and how much disposable income you have. Keep them in a notepad or an App on your phone so you’re always updating.
3. Leave your cards at home
Most of us have moved towards less cash and more-card based spending. However, with cash you can see when you have reached or are nearly at the end of your budget limit.
When you go Christmas shopping this year, take cash if you can. When you only have the exact amount you need for Christmas, you’re less likely to impulse buy.
4. Organise a Secret Santa
Between family, friends, and our work colleagues, gift-buying can really add up. With Secret Santa, each person only has to buy for one person and everyone gets a ‘decent’ present.
This year, rather than getting stressed at your ever-extending ‘to buy for’ list, explain your financial situation to your family and friends. Loved ones don’t expect expensive gifts so they’ll understand your budget limitations.
5. Use your skills
If you’re financially stuck but have a talent or particularly useful skill, you won’t need to spend a fortune on a great gift.
For example, if your sister loves your cookies with a cup of tea, make a tin of them just for her. Or if your friends haven’t had ‘date night’ in years, they would be thrilled to get a voucher for an evening’s babysitting.
6. Bargain Buy
When shopping, look out for 3-for-2 or BOGOFs (buy one get one free).
With deals like this, you’ve got a couple of stocking fillers and spare gifts for surprise visitors.
7. Shop on a full stomach and decent night’s sleep
Never shop on an empty stomach or when you’re tired.
If you’re not in the right frame of mind, you’re more likely to overspend.
8. Choose your shopping partner wisely
Don’t go shopping with that friend who lives for special offers and buys everything with a sale tag on it.
Also, it can very difficult to shop with kids – you want to keep them happy and will buy whatever it is that gets them in that mood. If possible, leave them at home with the babysitter or drop them to a friend’s house.