Christmas is a time for giving and spending time with the family. But, it does not just happen for free. There is no doubt that Christmas time is the largest time of mass consumerism with everyone rushing to find the perfect gifts for their loved one and stocking up the cupboards and fridge with food galore to feed the many during the long winter period.
Everyone should be prepared for Christmas to come if they are wanting to be able to have a comfortable and pleasant Christmas. There is nothing worse than leaving it all to the last minute and racking up credit card bills that you will not be able to pay off for months. In fact, according to statistics applicable to the Christmas of 2017, six in ten households admitted to making financial sacrifices in order to pay for the presents for their loved ones. This includes running up their credit card bill, taking out a loan or delaying utility bill payment.
To avoid becoming one of those people this year, here are some tips to start up on your Christmas saving journey.
Set a budget in advance
Before doing anything else, you should work out how much you will round-about realistically have to spend on presents, food and travel.
Take a look at how much you spent last year. Try to identify where you appeared to overspend and work out how you can cut back this year – in other words, what did you unnecessarily spend money on that you could, in fact, live without. Make a list of the things that you need and set a budget to stick too.
Once you have come up with an amount for Christmas gifts, food and whatever else you need, divide it by the number of months that are left until Christmas. Come December, your savings will be fully funded and you can be sure to enjoy the holiday instead of feeling rinsed of every last penny you have.
One way you can save money using your budget is by utilising your ‘under budget’ cash. This when you spend less than your budget one month on things like your food shop – it can then be added to a savings account or piggy bank.
Keep your eye out for deals now
There are sales sporadically throughout the year. One time close enough to Christmas to be thinking about gifts is Black Friday which we now have over here in the UK. Pretty much every store gets involved with Black Friday sales and the reductions can actually be humongous. In addition, there will be Cyber Monday which is solely online.
Nevertheless, you should not forget your spending cap. This is especially pressing at a time where sales are on that can tempt you to spend beyond your budget.
Set up a Christmas Savings account
A great way to remain extra disciplined is to set up a savings account which is dedicated to the money that will go towards Christmas. If you do this in advance, you may also be able to build up interest on the money you save if you do not touch it until you need it.
Setting up a savings account is really easy and you can do it via online banking or on the phone. If you would prefer you can actually go into your local bank and open it there – this will be the best option for those who are unsure about anything.
Cashback on Presents
In the months leading up to Christmas or when you are actually buying gifts online, you should try to use cashback websites in order to save whilst you spend.
With cashback sites, you sign up for free, then you click through them to buy a product. The website profits by sending traffic and will give some of this to you. People can make £100s a year just by doing this.
It is important not to let the cashback dictate how much you spend, however. Only buy something through a cashback site if you were hoping to buy it anyway – think of it like a bonus rather than a bargain.