The majority of the time, you’ve got a pretty decent handle on your finances. You go through life doing what you can, budgeting, ensuring that you’re managing your money as well possible, and everything seems to be going exactly as it should be.
Then Christmas happens.
There’s no doubt that the advent (pun absolutely intended) of the Christmas season is a tricky one for the household finances. Suddenly, not only do you have to pay all of your usual bills and expenses, you now have to find the funds to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest. Many parents admit they go into debt to pay for Christmas gifts, such is the societal pressure to lavish attention on family and — particularly — our children. So if you don’t want to have to go to the the Jubilee Group for a loan just to get through Christmas, read through these pointers– and start the new year with your finances in check.
#1 – Don’t Impulse Buy
It’s not just Santa that should be making a list and checking it twice– you need to do the same. Outline exactly who you have to buy for, how much your budget is, and then do your research online. When you have found suitable gifts, add them to your list, and only buy the items on the list. This might take a bit of willpower, but your finances will be glad of your resolve!
#2 – Use Discounts, Savings, And Cashback
The internet has made discounts, savings, and cashback an everyday part of life. Add the potential deals online to loyalty card schemes you can use in store, and you could save yourself a small fortune when it comes to gifts. In the months leading up to Christmas, make sure you take advantage of any ‘double points’ or similar offers for loyalty cards– you can then use these in exchange for gifts. The Nectar scheme, in particular, offers a variety of ways to boost your points, so it’s well worth investigating.
As for online shopping, promise yourself you won’t make a single purchase without checking to see if there’s a discount code or cashback available. This only takes you a few seconds, and might be the financial make-or-break for you this year.
#3 – Assemble A Priority List
When your children are making their lists for “Santa”, ask them to be careful with what they request. Rather than just writing out all the items they can think of, ask for lists to be presented in the form of priorities. This way, if your budget won’t stretch to many items on the list, you can still opt for the high-priority items. Quality is more important than quantity.
#4 – Avoid “Stocking Fillers”
Stocking fillers are ubiquitous in the runup to Christmas, but you don’t need them. They’re usually cheap, generic gifts; but you’d be surprised how the price of them can add up. Focus instead on great main gifts, and give the stocking fillers a rest for this year.
If you keep the above in mind, then you can enjoy this Christmas, without having to spend much of 2018 paying for it.
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