The Christmas adverts are on the telly and the jingles are in the shops. This should be a time of happiness and cheer but with the cost of living crisis causing fear, Christmas is going to compound them unless you plan ahead. You may be wondering how on earth you are going to cope with the added expense that Christmas brings but I am here to tell you that you can take steps to reduce your money worries, leaving yourself time and space to enjoy the festivities.
As we move towards the festive season and all the costs that entails, why not consider how you budget for Christmas? It’s easy to get caught up on spending in the run up to the big day. Easy to get into the spirit and excitement and start spending too much on presents and ignoring your budget.
To have a fantastic time over Christmas you don’t have to spend more. There is no need to add to your money worries.
The expenses add up when you take account of everything: Christmas cards, presents, fancy clothes, postage, food, drink, decorations – the list seems endless. However, you can still have a wonderful time without putting yourself in a difficult position with money.
Put some of these tips in place today to help you keep your budget under control. If you can’t manage to do them all this year, maybe do some straight away and keep some actions for future years. At least that will mean you are better prepared.
Tips to control your spending this Christmas
Plan ahead before buying presents. Make a list of gifts before you go shopping or start searching online.
Consider the 4-gift rule for children (and adults, for that matter!): something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.
Prepare a budget for all your festive costs – and stick to it! Don’t forget to include:
Presents and wrapping paper
Cards and postage
Food and drink
Visiting friends and relatives
Save money by making gifts and cards. You could have a craft day with the children to make cards and edible gifts. You could make use of old Christmas cards to make labels or use plain brown paper for wrapping gifts and make them pretty with greenery from the garden or encouraging the children to decorate the paper.
Use price comparison websites so that you know you are getting the best deal online. You can also make best use of bulk offers such as 3 for 2 on gifts – but don’t buy gifts just for the sake of the offer; only get them if those gifts are on your list.
Research any free activities or events you can attend e.g. Christmas lights switch on, festive walks, visits to Santa.
Tips to manage your time this Christmas
Also, it can be overwhelming thinking about everything that needs to be done. The key to a wonderful Christmas is time management!
Start by looking at:
What work needs to be completed before Christmas?
Who do you need to see and where?
Do your children have activities you need to fit in?
Let’s have a look at some of these.
1. Getting your work done
There’s nothing worse than the thought of unfinished work hanging over you when you are trying to celebrate with the family. Make a list of all the work you need to do and divide it between:
What has to be done before you finish work for the Christmas period and what are the deadlines?
What would you like to get finished before Christmas for your own peace of mind?
Prioritise the items that you are going to leave until January 2023.
2. Fitting people in
Who do you want to see before Christmas to give them their presents? Will this be a brief drop off or a meet up?
Who do you want to see during Christmas? How will you plan this?
Can you arrange to meet in the New Year instead? This will take the pressure off before Christmas.
Are you going to visit them at their home? If so, where do they live and can you see more than one person in one trip if they live a distance away?
Keep a check on the weather as it gets closer to the time so that you can decide whether it will be ok to travel.
3. Are there Christmas activities to attend?
Many Christmas activities are free and they are an excellent way to get into the spirit of the season. Keep an eye out on social media and local publications to see what is on. Perhaps you can buddy up with someone else if you have childcare responsibilities so that you can take it in turns to look after the children while the other works on their ‘to-do’ list!
Christmas is often said to be the most wonderful time of year. But it can also feel a bit overwhelming and so by thinking about how you can best manage your time and finances you’ll lessen the pressure, and you may be able to enjoy it more.