Christmas is expensive. There’s no denying it – the holiday season is full of love and cheer and empty bank accounts. And no one wants to spend the lead up to Christmas worrying about money, it’s a time to enjoy and curl up by the fire with egg nog – or your beverage of choice. So, here are some handy tips to make sure you, or more importantly your money, is ready for Christmas.
Let’s get the basics sorted before any of the fun preparations get started. You need to make sure that you have sorted out your finances before you start spending. If you have any debts, you don’t want to make them worse heading into the holidays, so find a way to make them easy to deal with. You can consolidate your debts through sites like consolidated.credit, and only have the one payment to make rather than multiple, or you can lay down a debt management plan to make things easier. Regardless of whether you have existing debts or not, you don’t want to go into the new year with new ones – so plan ahead. Saving throughout the year will take the edge off all the spending, and setting strict budgets will help you keep from spending outside your means.
Buying presents can be costly – which takes out all the fun. You can spread out the cost by buying throughout the year. This way you can take full advantage of seasonal sales – including the January Sales.
Reduce costs by setting and keeping a budget – if you are worried that you will be spending less than others will spend on you, just explain to your family and friends that you want to set a budget and ask that they do the same. They will probably be relieved and be more than happy.
A smaller budget means that you need to get more creative and more thoughtful – which can lead to some seriously lovely gifts.
With a large group of friends or work colleagues, you can suggest Secret Santa – sites like elfster.com arranges it all for you. This way everyone gets a present, and you get the added fun of having to guess who got who what. It’s also an excuse for everyone to get together in the holiday period, which we all know can be tricky.
Rather than braving the supermarket just before Christmas, order your food online, and order it in advance. That way you are more likely not to miss out on anything. You can also start buying some things early on – like your turkey and ham. Anything you can freeze, providing you have space, you can by at least a month in advance.
If you are cooking for a large group, ask people to help out. Have one person bring dessert, someone else to bring nibbles, a few to bring the alcohol. This way the cost isn’t all on you. Or you can start a new tradition where you cook (and pay) this year, and it’s someone else’s turn the year after.