For many of us Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, particularly if there are children involved. Needless to say, however, it also takes considerable planning and it can be costly. This year, we are going to take a different slant on Christmas, I think we’ve slowly been making changes every year, but this year we are definitely feeling the pinch. We have however put some plans in place. So with this in mind, I thought that I would write this post about that how to plan to be financially prepared for the Christmas season.
The Twelve Months of Christmas
Whilst it may sound somewhat extreme, the best way to be financially prepared for the Christmas season is to start planning in January. Putting a little money into a bank account each month means that come the time you have a pot that can be used for gifts, trips and festive food and drink.
If there are two adults in the household, saving just £50 per month each will leave you with £1200 in your Christmas pot and with that you can do quite a lot.
Pick Up Bargains Throughout the Year
Some people start shopping for Christmas in the January sales and whilst this is not such a bad idea, you may want to wait a little longer so that you have had the chance to save some money. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up bargains throughout the year. Black Friday, for instance, occurs towards the end of November every year – Friday, 23 November this year – and is the perfect opportunity to save some money on gifts.
Do it yourself gifts are fun to make and can save you a considerable amount of money. Mini food hampers containing items such as preserves made in the autumn are one nice idea. Another is to make batches of homemade soaps and essential oils, then package them in homemade boxes or bags. The personal touch is hard to beat and when you consider the savings you’ll make; the effort will be well worth your while.
Downsize Your Christmas
Slightly controversial, but many of us are now opting to downsize our Christmas for both financial and ethical reasons. You don’t, however, have to go crazy, just agreeing a limit on how much you spend on extended family members may be a good place to start. Other strategies for downsizing include buying a smaller tree, sending eCards as opposed to ones made from paper. Some people go as far as wrapping gifts in old newspapers instead of buying special paper.
Finally, those with will power could try financial fasting. Choose a specific month when there isn’t too much going on and pledge only to spend money on things that are absolutely essential – no sweet treats, no new outfits, takeaways or eating out. You’ll be surprised at how much you save and can put away towards the expense of Christmas.
The key messages here are forward planning and creativity – a combination of the two will leave you financially prepared for the Christmas season.