We have all been there, it’s time to start Christmas shopping, we don’t really know what we want to buy, we are busy with no time off work and the realisation that we only have 4 weekends left until Christmas. Therefore what do we do? We head off into town armed with our credit card and we spend, spend, spend. We tell ourselves it is fine, we will worry about it in the New Year. When the New Year comes we are faced with a “financial hangover” We then spend the entire year paying off our debt, only to do it all over again! However, there is another way to ensure you have a fabulous Christmas without putting yourself into unnecessary debt. Below are four practical tips on how to make it happen:
- 1. Nothing screams as more annoying than someone proclaiming they have finished all their Christmas shopping and it is not even bonfire night yet. However, their motivation to do it could be financially driven. The easiest way to save money is to set time aside and make a list of who you want to buy for, what you want to get and what your budget is. If you stick to this you will ensure you have your first Christmas where a financial hangover is not guaranteed. You will also have that smug feeling of having everything completed weeks before everyone else, giving you extra time to enjoy the festivities.
- 2.Once you have your list you can start comparing prices and get the best deal. Some people save £1,000s each year by finding the best deal. Don’t be seduced by holiday sales and make sure you don’t go getting that unnecessary extra gift, as it all adds up.
- 3. A lot of us don’t believe we have a creative flair but lots of people enjoy doing something that other people would also enjoy. Maybe you like baking or cooking, enjoy downloading and making music files or CDs or you have a talent with a needle and thread? It’s amazing how much goodwill is generated by receiving a gift from a friend or loved one they have made themselves, even if it’s only a batch of their favourite biscuits.
- 4. Pay cash, pay cash, pay cash. If you have made a list, set yourself a budget and know how much you intend to spend. Then there is no reason why you should not have the money ready, even if it means putting some away for a few months. Avoid using credit cards, buying your gifts by cash will avoid the nasty surprises, interest rates and fees that greet you on a gloomy January morning.