Christmas is nearly upon us, and you wouldn’t be alone if you felt the double whammy of the pressure to buy AND the fear of spending. Christmas to many of us is a time of giving, but you don’t want to give yourself a headache in the New Year with bills and debts you can’t afford.
With the prospects of a looming recession, astronomical energy costs and rapidly falling living standards set to hit most of us in some way, now is the time to not only think honestly about our personal situations in the run up to Christmas. Beyond tightening our belts or purse strings, we also need to start having candid conversations with friends and family about affordability both during the festive period and into the new year.
To help you navigate the ‘season of spending’ we’ve put together a few spending tips to help you avoid overspending so that you and your family can enjoy a Christmas and New Year that is full of happiness, positivity and joy- after all that is what it is supposed to be about!
- First of all, talk to your family friends and loved ones, ask them how they are feeling about budgeting for Christmas. Be open and honest and give everyone the chance to suggest affordable ways to celebrate without spending money that would perhaps be better saved. Nothing negative comes from being honest about money with the people you trust.
- Keep your spending simple; Pay by cash or debit card, don’t be persuaded to take out credit agreements. The lure of buying now and paying later can be strong, but the best policy is to only purchase what you can afford.
- Shop around to find the best price. Search engines are amazing. Shop local, visit independent traders as they may have what you need – without postage costs and the added bonus is that you are helping another family over a faceless corporation.
- Think about what services you can give to those on your list rather than an item- things like babysitting, painting or helping in the garden are things that cost you nothing. Also consider making things – bake cookies, a cake or a casserole or maybe put together some nice snacks to be enjoyed in a ‘Christmas Eve treat box’. These are all simple and affordable ways of showing that you care – and just might even be more useful than a traditional gift.
- Start planning and saving for next Christmas once Christmas is over. This might be easier said than done, and sometimes that savings pot can come in handy during the course of the year. You can also start hiding away small gifts rather than cash, you’ll appreciate it next year (just remember where you’ve hid them!).
With the current financial situation looking set to continue into 2024, we can all benefit from learning to be honest with ourselves and others about our financial realities and this is definitely one resolution none of us can afford to put off until Dec 31st.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Holiday Season.