Tips on budgeting for Christmas09:00
Happy 1st of the month! December is an extremely exciting time, with Christmas coming up however it can be awfully stressful for most people! I've got a post coming every day this month, with tips, ideas and tricks to get you into the Christmas spirit and hopefully help to make your Christmas that extra relaxing.
The first topic I thought I'd talk about is budgeting, yes it sounds boring but honestly to have a successful Christmas you have to plan! Unfortunately, if you haven't done any budgeting for Christmas I can't really help massively, as to properly budget you should be thinking about it in June/July to save the most amount of money! However, within this month there are definitely a few tips I've picked up from years before that can help, and quickly! Here they are...
1. Plan Early
As I was saying, to properly budget and start saving, you need to do it early. However, take a good look now at your bank statements, how much you have and how much you need for essentials (bills e.t.c). Is there something you've noticed you are spending too much on monthly? Maybe for a month or two, go without a certain subscription, don't go out to a restaurant if you end up doing that once a week (or more sometimes in my case!) as I know that's where my money always seems to go. If you are a movie lover like me, maybe write down films you really want to see in the movies, and prioritise, or ring the cinema and ask if they'll still be showing it in January. Little things that you can cut out for a couple of months definitely will give you some money back. Here is a free budget planner especially designed for the holidays - great to take some time to look through and organise yourself before it gets too stressful!
If you are putting on a Christmas dinner, I'd also suggest buying early and freezing the items until a day or so before. It's usually better to buy in bulk (considering you actually need it and will use it!) and then writing lists before going food shopping and sticking to it will definitely help you get it done faster but also stop you getting sidetracked and putting things in your trolley you don't actually need.
2. Use what you've got
If you've got a smartphone, download some apps that will help schedule what you can do on different days, for example, have you got a day off midweek? Use that day to Christmas shop - or wrap what you've already bought! Doing this might not be fun for the whole month, but at least you definitely won't forget anything and be rushing out in the last few days!
Do you have loyalty cards that you've been using all year and not spent any points? I know my boots points definitely add up when I buy the occasional meal deal when I need to get some shampoo and body wash. Take a look at the points and see if you can use it for a Christmas present. Same with my Costa card, I've saved up all year not really sure how much it was all worth, and now I've got a lot of points so I've not been buying my coffee's recently - I've been using my points! This way you can still get what you usually like and not cut out, but you aren't spending! Taking a look at your tesco advantage card is a great idea aswell - they include lots of deals on not only food but things like tech which might be a great present for a family member!
3. Write until your fingers are sore
If there's one thing that comes in handy around Christmas, it's a good list. What I like to do is to write down who I'm getting gifts for - and a few ideas underneath. Then, instead of going out shopping I turn on my laptop and comparison shop. It's really useful looking online beforehand, then you know what shops have deals on, if an item you want is discounted at one store or not - or if it's cheaper online! Then when you are out shopping you won't be spending time looking around and maybe getting sidetracked - I know I've done that before and then ended up buying two presents for people as I forgot I already bought them something!
Afterwards you can then write down the prices of the items - were they cheaper online or in store? Did you get a discount? - does this give you extra money to spend or save?
4. Get Crafty
I know I'm not super crafty, however there are lots of people out there who are! Are you great with a sewing machine? Why not make a few accessories for presents? One thing I love to do when I need inspiration is search Pinterest - it's get for homemade items and one big thing at the minute which I've found is printables! You use your own paper/card, print of the items and bang! You can turn them into gift tags, cards, maybe you'll even find some cheaper wrapping paper ideas out of things you have at home! It may not sound like it will help save money but if you don't need to go out and buy all the crafts, it will definitely save you a few pounds, plus if you have children it's great to get them involved!
I hope some of these ideas come in handy and give you some ideas on how to save some money over Christmas! Come back tomorrow for my first gift guide of the week!
What's your tip for saving money over Christmas?