Simple ways to help keep Christmas affordable

Take the time to create a budget just for Christmas, so you can enjoy yourself without spending a fortune.

Christmas is a happy time of year that brings people together but it can also be expensive. With a bit of early planning you can control your festive season spending. Here are some tips to help avoid a New Year financial blowout.

Set a budget

You know it makes sense, but it can seem a bit Scrooge-like. If you can overcome your reluctance, start with the total amount you want to spend. Divide this into the major categories of gifts, catering, entertainment and travel and list the items you need to purchase in each. Then put a spending cap on each category.

Organise your gift-giving

Draw up a gift list and work out how much you want to spend on each person. If money is tight, consider options such as vouchers for home-cooked meals, gardening, or home repair work as alternatives to bought presents.

It can help for big groups of relatives or friends to agree in advance upon a spending cap per gift. Another option is to do a Secret Santa by choosing each other’s names randomly from a hat. Each person then buys the person they picked a gift, instead of buying for everyone in the group.

Open a Christmas account

Funding your Christmas spending is the next task. Set up a special bank account early in the year and use a regular auto payment option. The sooner you start saving, the more you will have, or the less you will need from your regular accounts to make up any shortfall.

Make a shopping list

Wandering through the shops without a clear idea of what to buy may cause you to overspend. Do your research first, then set out with your shopping list in hand and stick to it.

Be prepared to bargain as smartphones make it easy to compare prices, and avoid last minute shopping that can result in rushed and expensive decisions.

Even better, pick up bargains in the sales earlier in the year and put them aside. Above all, keep your head and stick to what you can afford.

Travel smarter

It may seem that the entire country is on the move during the holiday season – it is the most popular time to travel. It’s also one of the most expensive times as higher demand for transport and accommodation pushes prices up, so it may be worth considering house swapping, camping or having a staycation if money is tight. If you do wish to travel, there are plenty of ways to take a break without breaking the bank. The most helpful hint is to once again draw up a budget.

Talk to your adviser

If you’d like advice on how to create a budget, your adviser will work with you to help tailor one to your needs.

November 06, 2019

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