There are just eleven short weeks left until Christmas and it’s no exaggeration to say I’m excited as fudge.
I bloody love it, this after spending many years as grumpy, sour faced Scrooge who couldn’t bear the sight of anything Christmas related at all, only to have a niece slapped on me in 2014 and hey presto, return of the big Christmas fairy!
Considering Christmas is a fairly popular worldwide event that takes place on the same date every year, it’s funny how it manages to creep up on many of us every single year sending us into a wild panic.
If you are serious about keeping the Christmas spending under control you need a strategy, unplanned shopping sprees are the mother of all financial cock ups after all.
How to save money this Christmas
Stick to a Christmas gift budget
It may sound an obvious thing to suggest, but it’s a valid one.
How many times have you strayed from your initial budget and started the New Year up shit creek without a paddle financially?
I think it’s safe to say most of us have at some point in our lives for one reason or another, which is why setting and sticking to a budget is the most essential place to start.
Plan how much you want to spend on each gift, and rather than seeing budgeting as a bad thing, consider it a creative challenge. In my experience carefully thought out gifts are much more meaningful than throwing a load of cash at something, you might even want to try your hand at creating something yourself.
Consider the expectations of your family and social circle and suggest a spending limit. Large families can put severe strain on any budget and it may be worth considering if it is worth the emotional and psychological strain of trying to keep up with it all.
Don’t leave it until the last minute and start picking up stuff now, you are stretching the cost over more wage packets and avoiding the absolute madness that late Christmas shopping brings.
Make a list for EVERYTHING!
Although I would always preach picking up things throughout the year to spread the financial burden, there are some amazing deals to be found on big sale days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Amazon is great for deals on big sale days, plus you have the added bonus of not having to leave the house to fight your way through the rabble of other frantic bargain shoppers.
If you do prefer to wait until the big sales prepare your list now to stop you from running around frantically like a clueless, crazy person when the time comes, it will stop you buying tons of unnecessary crap – believe me.
And, it doesn’t start and end with presents either.
Think of all the different things you need from dinner to decorations and list them all, it will save you from having to make emergency trips to local stores where the cost is likely to be much higher and there is even more temptation with last minute ‘special offers’. Remember it is only an offer if you actually need it.
Sack Secret Santa at work and employ it at home instead
It’s a bit of a waste of money isn’t it?
Do I really need that packet of luxury Marks and Spencer biscuits or novelty mug?
Nor do I need the extra headache of finding a present under a tenner for someone I barely know with the exception of the occasional brief chat waiting for the kettle to boil at work.
However, when it comes to family gifting it is a great idea to keep down the costs. Buying for everyone in your family is insane and a complete waste of money, when all is said and done none of us really need all that extra stuff.
Draw lots and buy one present each, this way you avoid the worry of trying to afford decent presents for everyone and you can take more time and effort in making someone’s Christmas really special with a gift they actually want.
Don’t shop until you drop
Shopping like a lunatic is going to lead to overspending a poor decisions.
With only eleven weeks to go we are all on borrowed time, however rushing around attempting to fit all of your shopping into one day is likely to lead to you overspending on presents that, with a bit more careful consideration, you wouldn’t have put in your basket.
Take a more targeted approach and you won’t be tempted to spend money on any old shizzle in a state of panic.
Consider donating to charity instead
I’m at the point in life where I cherish experiences over material things. I’d much rather spend time making memories these days.
Last Christmas I took part in the Reverse Advent Calendar which consisted of grabbing 24 items for a local food bank.
Ask the more charitable members of your family and friends if they would consider you making a donation to a charity of their choice instead of a gift.
Where charities are concerned every little helps, and £10 spent on essentials for a food bank will go an awful lot further than any gift you could buy.
It doesn’t have to be a food bank, any charity will welcome your donation and both you and the recipient can give yourselves the gift of doing a good deed in the process.
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