It is very easy to forget to watch your money and let spending get out of control in the build up to Christmas.
Somehow it doesn’t seem as bad if we run up debt when we are buying things for other people rather than for ourselves, but starting the New Year with a massive financial burden hanging over your head is never a good thing. The spirit of giving may well be what Christmas is all about, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget to watch your money and spend a fortune. You don’t want to be speaking to the payplan bankruptcy experts come January after all.
The best thing to do before you start Christmas shopping is to make a realistic plan of what you can afford to spend in total. Alongside this make two lists; one of the people you want to buy presents for and another of your other Christmas expenditures such as food, drink, decorations and wrapping paper.
Prioritise your lists, allocate a set amount of money to each person/item and make sure you stick to that budget. It can be an idea to have a small overspill amount built into the budget but no more than £20 should be necessary.
In the run up to Christmas many major high-street retailers put on special deals aimed at festive shoppers, such as ‘three for two’ offers. Take advantage of these wherever possible. For stocking fillers and smaller presents, consider buying sets of bubble baths or chocolate bars and splitting them up.
Check out the internet for voucher codes and discount coupons to make your shopping a little more affordable. You can often find percentage discounts or bulk buy offers that you don’t see on the high street. Sign up for sites such as Humble Bundle to get some amazing gifts for as little as a dollar. Pad out gifts by adding home-made cookies wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty festive ribbon. You could also try making other items such as scarves, candle holders or food hampers.
If you do overspend on gifts be sure to check out payplan.com in the New Year to consolidate all your debts into one affordable monthly payment, then start making saving advances for next year.