Christmas music, decorations, promotions ….. you are screaming ‘IT’S NOVEMBER’! However, there are things that you can be doing that are going to make Christmas better.
Lot’s of people spend more than they earn in December. Yes, Christmas costs money, but it does not have to make the New Year miserable. There are ways to spend in a way that makes the most of your money. I am not one for trawling the shops and keeping coupons, but there are some simple things you can do to play smart.
Follow my 5 suggestions to tip the balance in your favour and claim back the cash you will need in January. Warning wise spending gets addictive!
Set a budget for Christmas. Everything you are going to spend on the festive season goes on your list - presents, food, wrapping, cards, postage, decorations , trips to the grotto and more. Now, having set your budget, you have a way to be creative. Knowing your spending power, and sticking to it, will raise your awareness for a bargain and you are less likely to make rash purchases. Track your spending and you will ensure you don’t go over budget. It’s a great template for next year too. Tip: instead of expensive wrapping paper look at cheaper (better looking) alternatives like gorgeous brown paper wrapping. Check out Pinterest here for ideas.
Use loyalty cards and cash back cards to make your purchases. You can work out how to use them for online purchases too (where you often get a better deal). Its amazing how much you will save, and that’s even more money off the budget you have set yourself for Christmas. As long as you plan ahead it works out cheaper. How often have you forgotten to use a loyalty card or cash back card in a place you don’t often shop? We change our buying habits in the festive season and we are far more likely to be rushing around and that’s how we make mistakes and overspend. Tip: make sure any cards you use are not charging interest if you don’t pay them off by the due date. If you can’t pay in time to avoid interest consider other options.
Start now, clearing out what you don’t use, love or need. You know that ‘stuff’ is coming into your home in December and the challenge is where to put it! Stuff that takes up space, has not been used for a year or more, and you cannot remember why you bought it, is getting free lodgings. It can go. Lots of people are now using free sites to sell-on their unwanted items, and no matter how small the sale it’s Christmas money for a relatively small amount of effort. Use social media and groups that you belong to and check out if someone is looking for what you no longer need. It may be Christmas but people are still looking for items they that are not necessarily presents. Tip: make sure your social media post is shared by your friends and you have more chance of selling.Keep posting it. People need to see it a few times to get interested.
Unwanted presents. If you find that Christmas Day brings unwanted presents that you don’t want, like or need, and you end up storing them so that you don’t offend people, then break that trend this year. You know who the culprits are, and, you can change the tradition. Ask for something useful that you know you actually need. Gift cards for a favourite store, donations to a good cause or a space saving gadget for the kitchen (then sell the kitchen clutter). A way into the conversation is to say that you are only buying what people want and need this year. When they say what they want from you, there is an opening to say what you want. Tip: get together with other parents to encourage this habit for children parties too. No naff party bags full of cheap, breakable, plastic toys. Craft bags and books are a great idea and encourage children to learn and appreciate.
Too much food! We all laugh about all that Christmas food we buy, but its less funny when we are eating on a budget in January. It’s back to making AND sticking to a list. We have all been guilty of buying ‘just in case’ such and such turns up, but its not a great strategy. Christmas may happen only once a year but its every year, so we have a pretty good idea of what we need. Consider what is normally left over and scrub that off the list. Buy ahead food stuff that will not perish, and a few items added to the shopping list each week, is barely noticeable. I personally think its great to eat what you love on Christmas Day to make it really special. Tip: make and freeze what you can so that you just take out what you need and waste less.
A few small changes make a big difference and the biggest change may be setting a budget. Give it a go. I would love to know how you get on.
Follow these links to get my freebies for you this Christmas!
Five Free Videos To Help You Plan Christmas - link takes you to a Closed Facebook Page to see the videos
7 Step Checklist to Declutter Your Home - free download