We all recognise the fact that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but unlike Dean Martin, we also have a darker side to our Christmas - finances. The glitz, glam, and excitement of this time of year are wonderful, but they come at an exorbitant price if you're past the age where you believe in Santa. How do your reconcile your desire for a great Christmas with your everyday needs? Is "doing" Christmas on a budget possible?
Yes, it is, and you can find out how if you keep reading! All you have to do is set things up ahead of time and remember to stick to your budget, no matter how tempting the sparkly offerings are in shops!
Set Aside An Amount Every Week/Month
This is the easiest way to budget for Christmas: just pick an amount that is affordable for you and set it aside every single month or week. Let's say it's £10 per week. By the end of the year, you will have saved around £500 to spend on Christmas. You can save that for presents and make a separate grocery budget to take care of the food and sweets part of the holiday. The Money Advice Service has an excellent budget planner if you need help with this part.
Cut Back On Sweets And Little Expenses
Since what you are doing is saving money in order to facilitate a splurge on presents, good food, and sweets, it pays off to be a little more stingy with these things during the year, especially in the latter part of the season. Starting with October, it's all a feast, what with Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas, etc., so you might want to cut back on indulgences for a while. You don't have to take them out of your life altogether, but you can certainly put a limit on spending and gorging on delicacies for a while.
Keep An Eye On Offers
Nowadays, you don't need to pay full price on anything, if you're smart about the way you shop, you have patience, and you pay attention. You will notice that supermarkets cycle through offers regularly, so if you take note of them every time they come around, soon you will be able to pin down the schedule for promotions. Buy more of something when it's on offer and you will never have to pay full price out of pocket. That's money in the bank for Christmas!
Always Use A Coupon If You Can
If you're shopping online, what does it cost you to do a quick search and see if you can find a coupon code or a discount code? They're always available, so if you take 5 minutes to look for one, you may be able to save say, 20% on your purchase. Voucher Codes has year-round offers, deals, coupons, and discount codes for a variety of different products. That's good for Christmas shopping and for saving, in general.
Save Big Purchases For Christmas
As you will know, when Christmas is close, stores start putting out deals, gift sets, discounts, offers, etc. It's all in the spirit of buying more, more, more for Christmas. While they can be dangerous traps, they can also be taken advantage of in a smart way. If you're interested in purchasing expensive items as gifts for your loved ones, it's worth waiting until Christmastime to see what offers the shops are putting out; you may be able to get it cheaper, or get more for your money.
Take Advantage Of Black Friday
One of the things we've borrowed from American culture is the over-the-top Black Friday. The one day a year when everything is ridiculously discounted (well, except for Boxing Day) is popular, and it can save you a lot of money on big ticket items. Black Friday and Boxing Day are actually excellent opportunities to buy presents for next year's Christmas. Why pay full price for a bottle of fragrance when you can get it at a discount, right?
Take On A Side Gig To Add To Your Christmas Budget
Sometimes, no matter how you stretch it, your regular income just isn't enough to cover the kind of Christmas you'd like. Have you considered taking on another source of income for this purpose? Whether it's freelancing online, babysitting for a few weeks, selling handmade things on Etsy, or taking on a part-time job as Christmas staff for a major retailer, the money sure will come in handy!
In conclusion, Christmas can really be the most wonderful time of the year, and it doesn't have to completely blow up your regular budget, if you put your budgeting skills to good use for the holidays! And if this wasn't enough, Money Saving Expert has 45 different tips for saving money for Christmas!