Whilst it’s a bit premature to start hanging tinsel around the tree, it is time to begin thinking about your Christmas budget. It may feel like Summer’s barely finished, but on 16 September, Christmas will be 100 days away – that’s only four pay packets to go! Be prepared – sit down, and start making a plan. It will only take a few hours of your time, but will make a huge difference when it comes to examining your bank balance.
Here are five top tips to help you get started:
1. Decide what you can afford to save: Set a budget and stick to it. Be realistic – whilst you may want to get your child the latest game station, it won’t be worth it if you can’t afford to treat your family for six months afterwards.Think about the long-term effects of your decisions and don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Christmas is already costly enough, without trying to provide a room packed with presents.
2. Pool together with relatives: If there is something special you are determined to give your child, ask others to get involved. Friends and family often struggle to know what to buy, and can spend hours searching the shops. Suggesting that they pool their money together and assist you in buying that dream gift is the perfect solution. Not only will they be content knowing they have bought something worthwhile, but your budget will also remain in tact. If you speak to them early, the likelihood is they will be keen to be part of this plan.
3. Buy in advance: Buying a few gifts in advance will also help to spread costs, saving you from that one, lump sum of money. Take advantage of any bargains you find, and save some cash before prices rise.
4: Be creative: For those who like to be creative, making home-made gifts is also a great idea. Your friends will appreciate the personal gesture and you’ll get to spend time doing something you love.
5: Separate savings: In addition to presents, Christmas is also full of fantastic food, glittering decorations and indulgent parties. When thinking about costs, consider everything you’re planning to do, whether it’s a trip to the ice-rink with the family or your annual work do. Saving separately for all occasions will enable you to know how much cash you have available and what’s left to spend.
Prioritise the things that are important to you, whether that’s a turkey roast or a trip to the panto, and cut costs in other places. Don’t let extra expenses take the merry out of Christmas this year. Start saving, set a budget and plan ahead.
For great advice on budgeting and saving, book yourself onto a free CAP Money Course today - click here to find one near you.