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Save Money on Christmas

By: Jan De Ryck - Updated: 25 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Budget Saving Christmas Shopping

Christmas can be quite a stressful time. There’s all the gift shopping that needs to be done (most often in ridiculously busy shopping streets or centres), lots of groceries that have to be picked up, cooking that needs to be carefully planned, family that has to be picked up from the station… And that’s not even counting the anxiety that comes with the realisation of how expensive the holiday season really is…

Increasing Need to Spend at Christmas

It’s a modern plague, people tend to overspend. Increasing numbers of people rack up credit card debts or borrow money to spend on “frivolous” things like expensive Christmas presents or a skiing holiday. We don’t know about you, but starting the New Year with a heavy burden of debts hardly seems like a happy occasion. There’s no reason why you should put yourself through all that financial hardship. A lot can be done with some careful planning…the earlier you start planning, the better.

Draw up a Budget

The first thing you need to do is draw up a budget, you need to know how much money you can spend – and how you are going to spend it. Help yourself by making a list of all the expenses you expect to make. Include literally everything, from the biggest costs right down to the smallest. Factor in the turkey, the Christmas tree, the new decorations you want to get, a realistic amount for gifts (it would be useful to know what you are going to buy, so you can calculate this exactly), but also the Christmas cards and even the stamps you'll need to send them.

Figured out how much Christmas is going to cost you? Then compare that amount with how much you can actually spend. If the two amounts don’t correspond, then you’re either one of those lucky people who can go out and buy themselves a few presents as well, or you need to eliminate some things from your spending list. Scrap the things that are not completely essential; downsize your gifts, use last year’s decorations again, settle for a smaller Christmas tree and maybe a smaller turkey or an alternative meat - whatever it takes to balance the books.

Saving for Christmas

If you’re not the kind of person who wants to compromise on their Christmas spending but are still working with a tight budget, then it’s a good idea to start saving money for the next holiday season as early as January. It’s hard to set aside big chunks of money all at once (especially at the end of the year, when you’ll have to pay bigger bills), and a lot less painful to save small amounts here and there. Again, planning is crucial: make sure you keep last year’s budget handy, so you know what you’re working towards. Good luck!

Check out some more tips in our budget gifts feature.

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