Tips for Prepping for Christmas
Although it’s only October, many people have begun preparing for Christmas already, and a lot of them started months ago! Christmas can be a challenging time for several reasons, finances being one of them.
There are many ways you can prepare for Christmas financially, and there are a lot of things you can do to ensure you don’t get caught out by sudden bills over the holiday period.
- Set a budget – It’s not as simple as saying “I spend X a month; therefore, I have Y to spend”. Work out precisely what you’re paying out each month and make sure to factor in potential changes in the bills and the extra spending over Christmas, e.g. increased payments for heating.
- Keep money aside in case – Anything can happen over Christmas, which can massively affect your finances. Whether it’s your boiler breaking or your car needing fixing, it’s essential to try and make sure you’re prepared for any eventuality. Having a great Christmas is every family’s dream, but being hit by an unexpected bill that you can’t pay is everyone’s worst nightmare, so it’s best to be as prepared as possible.
- Keep an eye on spending – The average UK household spends £800 more in December than in any other month. We spend an average of 39% more on alcohol and 16% more on food. Spreading the cost of Christmas over a number of months can help offset the extra spending when you get to December.
- Start shopping early – Getting your presents purchased as early as possible is an easy way to make sure you’re prepared for the big day and have enough time to shop around for deals. Waiting until December to buy your presents could lead to panic buying expensive gifts and overpaying for the ones you wanted.
- Don’t feel pressure to spend – It’s important during Christmas to not get too carried away with the festivities, try and avoid being pressured into spending a lot of money on presents. The best way to do this is to do your research into what you want, shop around for deals and only commit to the purchase once you’re sure you’re getting the best deal.
Keep Christmas spending under control
- Remember the saying “It’s the thought that counts” – It’s a saying almost as old as Christmas itself but it’s as true now as it was then. Putting thought, time and effort into finding the perfect gift means so much more than spending a lot of money. Look into their interests, which gifts they’ve enjoyed in the past and try to remember anything they may have mentioned before to help get them the perfect gift.
- Go home-made – The home-made gift has lost its appeal in the last few years which means it’s the perfect time to start bringing it back! Home-made cards, gift boxes, photo albums and Christmas hampers always go down well because they’re very thoughtful and festive (Pinterest and Instagram are excellent places to find inspiration for home-made gifts). As a side bonus, they also act as a great way to keep the kids entertained over the holidays with some festive arts and crafts.
- Host a secret Santa – Hosting a family-wide secret santa is a great way to spice up Christmas and also to help minimize spending with each family member having only one person to buy for. Maybe kick-off the festivities with a “draw party” where everyone picks out their receiver to get everyone on board and put them in the festive mood
The last and most effective option is to sit down and have an adult conversation with your family regarding gifts. Christmas is a difficult and expensive time for everyone and although most people are reluctant to talk about or admit it, they would all like to save some money. So why not sit down and talk about price limits and discuss presents in advance so everyone’s on the same page and there are no surprises when it gets to the big day.
Help make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year by spending wisely and keeping an eye on your finances.