There’s no doubt that the Yuletide period can be a big drain on resources. It’s easy to go overboard and spend more than you intended. Last year it was reported that UK households were £1.5bn in debt following Christmas 2015. Our shops and supermarkets and even online stores nowadays are geared towards making us spend money. That’s why it’s more important than ever to start budgeting for Christmas.
There are some great ways that you can keep everything in control, however, and ensure you don’t reach the New Year in a bad financial state.
You have a certain amount of income and that should dictate what you are going to spend for the Christmas period. Avoid taking out little loans here and there or hire purchase agreements that could leave you paying much more later. Work out what your budget is and operate within it.
For instance, tot up the number of people you should buy presents for and allot a set spend that you are not going to exceed. Better still, ask those people not to buy you a present this year and cut down on who you’re forking your hard-earned cash for. Let’s face it, there’s only so many Christmas mugs and unusual socks we really need.
Save Early, Spread the Cost
It may be too late for Christmas 2016 but start thinking about next year. How many of us leave the Yuletide preparations far too late? Start putting money away as early in the year as you can if you want to have a fantastic Christmas. You’ll be surprised how the pennies build up. If you want to avoid temptation, set up a savings account just for special occasions. Buying your presents through the year is generally cheaper and allows you to take advantage of sales from January through to September.
Make a List (and check it twice!)
We often head out to the shops with one thing in mind and come back with a whole lot of stuff we never intended. Before you go out Christmas shopping, make a full list and keep to it. Budgeting for Christmas takes a good deal of self-control certainly but, if you can manage it, you’ll stay within budget and not over spend. Another idea is to take a set amount of cash with you rather than your debit card.
We do it the rest of the year but it seems Christmas is an exception. If you want to save money on everything from food to those big presents, make sure you shop around and find the best deal. It takes a little extra time but can save you a good deal of cash.
Track Your Spending
Key to staying in the black at Christmas is tracking your spending. Most of us would be appalled if we suddenly got one big bill at the end of Christmas that truly showed how much we had spent. That includes all those Yuletide celebrations such as the office party and drinks with friends.
You can use our online budgeting tool to keep track of just about anything you spend. This is a great way for putting the brakes on when spending is starting to get out of control.
Budgeting for Christmas is about having the right state of mind and learning to stay within your means. It might appear a little boring but at least you’ll get to the other side with plenty of money in your pocket and not have to spend the next few months paying off the debts you have accrued.