Yes I did say the C Word Christmas
Did you know there are 3-4 pay days until Christmas (depending on which day of the month you get paid). How are you going to plan to pay for Christmas without going into the red?
Below are some tips on how to make sure you have a stress free and debt free Christmas.
Set a budget (and stick to it) – Did you know that the average family spend is around £500 per household. This includes all the food, presents, decorations etc.
So do you really need to buy for everyone you know. Make a list of all family and friends you intend to buy for. Try to allow a set amount per person.
If you are having everyone to Christmas dinner ask everyone to bring something. For example one person could bring a few bottles of wine. Another could bring the veg etc. Maybe one person could prepare the Christmas cake.
By planning in advance you will know how much you will need to spend on the essentials. By doing this you can work out NOW how much to put away each month.
Set up a direct debit with your bank to transfer a set amount each month until Christmas to a savings account.
Do not send Christmas Cards – do you really need to send a card to everyone you have ever known? Even if you write them out – think of the time that takes. Posting the cards will also be costly. If you do want to send a Christmas Card then why not send an e-card instead. With e cards you can make them personal and even include photos. As Christmas is about caring why not send e cards from a Charity. One excellent one is the NSPCC. The link is http://lfs.uatp1.wpnchameleon.co.uk/christmas-ecards and in the spirit of Christmas you may want to make a donation to the charity.
Be a Secret Santa – For many of us at work we are familiar with the secret santa ritual where we all buy a gift for one of our work colleagues with a set amount. So why not do this with your family as well. You could get each adult such as your mother, dad, partner, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles or even your friends to draw a name out of a hat and just buy one item. Wrap it and add a label with the wording ‘Happy Christmas from the XXX family. This will mean that more thought goes into that gift and everyone will appreciate one gift that is especially for them. Also this will not only save you time but more important you will save money.
Gave a present of the gift of time – If you want to buy a present for someone then give them the simple gift of time. So why not make a voucher or token in the form of an IOU. You can offer them a weeks pet sitting, offer a monthly baby sitting service, why not help in their garden, the ideas are endless. After all this would be much better than the usual pair of socks!
Get a letter from Santa from the Royal Mail – Why not send your Child a letter from Santa. You can get this from Royal Mail (but closing date is start of December). Here is the link http://www.royalmail.com/letters-to-santa
Plan your Christmas shop early – When you are doing your weekly shop why not add a few extra purchases each week. All non perishable foods will keep well into Christmas if you keep them in a cool or dry place (and ideally well hidden in case you get the munchies!) That way you will not be in a rush over Christmas and panic by. remember that shops will still be open over Christmas. Also if you shop on-line make sure you book your delivery slots well in advance.
When doing your Christmas shop why not try the discount Supermarkets such as Lidl or Aldi where prices are often much cheaper especially for the Christmas extras such as the turkey drink, chocolate and veg.
Instead of a Turkey which can be quite dear why not try an alternative Christmas dinner with different (cheaper) cuts of meat instead.
Do not buy too much – we all buy far too much ‘just in case’ and there are always loads left over which can be a huge waste. Remember Christmas is only one day.
Wait for the sales – How annoying is it that after you have made a major purchase it is discounted in the January sales. If you can why not wait until then. If you are thinking of getting a main present for a member of your family such as a games consul or tv then why not give them an IOU and get the gift in January instead.
Also do not feel your home has to be perfect during the festive period. Do not splash out on new sofas, carpets or curtains during Christmas. NOt only could you ruin the items with the food and drink and everyone around but you would get a great deal in the January sales.
Remember a bargain is only a bargain if you can afford it.
Get a Christmas job
Why not consider getting a part-time job over Christmas. Below are a few currently available (although I cannot guarantee if there are any vacancies n your region)
The Royal Mail are looking for casual staff to held deliver the Christmas post.
These are just a few tips to help you plan for Christmas which will mean starting 2018 with hopefully some more money in your pocket.
Help Father Christmas in his Grotto
Work at Harrods during Christmas
Work in Lapland in Santa’s Lapland workshop
I hope this post is useful in making sure that you have a stress free and debt free Christmas.