Ok so it’s only September and doesn’t feel right to think about Christmas yet. However, if left until the last minute, it can be very easy to let your spending run out of control and you could find yourself paying it off into a good part of 2018.
It is possible to have a great Christmas without breaking the bank but this does involve a little bit of planning and setting some ground rules.
Dealing with expectations
Children love Christmas and the build-up can get them really excited. It is important to manage their expectation to avoid disappointment. For example, don’t make promises that can’t be kept.
Older children are easier as you can sit them down in advance to explain and agree on a reasonable budget.
Younger children will need to be dealt with slightly differently. Try persuading them to ask for a surprise from Santa rather than a specific item. Families with more than one young child, think about reducing the amount of presents per child and encouraging them to share.
If you’re separated and both involved in your child/ren’s lives, have a discussion to avoid doubling up and, as hard as it may be, try not compete against each other.
Secret Santa or Family presents
Whether for work, family or friends, Secret Santa is always a winner to help keep the cost down. Make sure to agree a budget and stick to it!
Another idea could be to buy a gift for the whole family to enjoy, i.e. a board game, hamper or family day out such as a treasure hunt.
Only buy for Children
If you have a large family or big group of friends, agree in advance to only buy for children and have a cut off point once they’ve reached a certain age, ie. 18 years.
Christmas IOU Voucher
We all know items tend be cheaper after Christmas due to the January sales. To coin in on this, why not create an IOU voucher to be given on Christmas day which can be redeemed in the sales. Money Saving Expert has even created a Christmas IOU Generator personalised voucher.
Give your time as a present
Do you have a service you could offer for free? Give a haircut or massage. Offer to do the cleaning or gardening. Cook a special meal for a loved one.
Discount Grocery shopping
If you don’t already, it does pay to swap to a discount grocery supermarket. What you save, could go in a kitty towards Christmas spends.
You’re not feeding the 5000!
With temptation everywhere it’s hard not to go overboard on the food shop. But think about what you really need. Have a chicken or turkey crown instead of a whole turkey. Be strict and plan your meals over Christmas. Not only will you save £££s but you avoid the extra pounds around the waist!
Plan in other activities
Don’t make Christmas Day all about opening presents and food. Arrange other activities for the day. Enjoy a family game or perhaps a nice walk along the beach or in the woods.
Prioritise your spending
We all like to have a good time at Christmas and spoil our loved ones but it’s important to prioritise your bills such as your rent.
Debt worries over Xmas? Get help
Sadly, Christmas isn’t jolly for all. If you (or a friend) have debt worries, get help from Citizens Advice.