So it’s 01 December on Monday. How did that happen? This year seems to have gone so quickly. With Christmas likely looming large in all of your thoughts, chances are you’re probably thinking that it’s going to be really expensive. Well it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. After years of battling with huge, depressing credit card bills in January that take me months to pay off, I’ve learned that Christmas is only as expensive as you want to make it. So here are my five tips to avoiding Christmas costing you a fortune.
1. Decide who you are going to buy for – It’s the season of goodwill and with that it’s tempting to buy presents for everyone. But if you don’t want Christmas to cost an arm and a leg, you need to be realistic about who to buy gifts for. My friends and I decided rather than buy each other presents, we would go for a pre-Christmas cocktail. It costs much less and is a really nice thing to do.
2. Set a budget and stick to it – Think really carefully about what you can afford. From that, set a figure that will cover all of your Christmas presents and won’t result in you spending more than what your bank balance will allow.
3. Start a spreadsheet – Now that you know who you are buying for and what you’re going to spend, make yourself a spreadsheet. This will help you to stick to your budget. I do my Christmas spreadsheet on Google Docs, so it keeps me on track wherever I go.
4. Take advantage of deals – So many retailers have deals on at this time of year. Black Friday is the most obvious one, but look out for other retailer discounts. And depending on your budget, it will allow you to get your loved ones a little bit more. I don’t alter my budget to factor deals in, but it does mean I can get my friends and family more with my money.
5. Consider making homemade gifts – If money is a real issue, homemade gifts always go down really well. I made these truffles earlier on this year and once they were boxed up, they looked really impressive and were totally gift worthy. Candles, biscuits and chutneys are also relatively inexpensive to make.
I hope you find these tips useful – they certainly help to save me a little money. Do you have any tips for keeping Christmas spending more manageable?