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Top 10 Tips to Not Overshoot your Christmas Budget

It is no secret that the Christmas season is one of the largest gift-giving times of the year. People in the UK spend a significant amount of money on presents each year – so it comes as no surprise that the Christmas period can soon become costly.

The good news is that there is a way to do everything without breaking the bank. So, people reading this blog need not worry, as we have some helpful advice for you that may prevent you over-spending this Christmas.

Here are a few pocket-friendly ideas:

1. Fix a budget in advance

Some of your financial issues could disappear if you put aside a certain amount that you will spend for Christmas. Take an oath that you will spend nothing more on your holiday shopping gifts, food, travel, and décor expenses.

Treat your budget like a cake and divide it into different slices, or in this case different categories. Assign a certain amount to each category such as £X for gifts, £Y for food, and so on.

How many gifts are you planning to buy and how much will they cost? If the numbers aren’t adding up, then what changes or sacrifices do you need to make to meet your budget?

2. Do not fall for retail trickery

Most people end up overspending even after arriving at a well-planned budget. This is because most online retailers are great at coming up with offers that compel us to part with our money. Things such as retail credit, discount pricing, loyalty cards, and incentives to return to the store are not aids, but retail tricks to loop customers into coming in again and again.

Be especially on the lookout for these during the holiday season.

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3. Keep self-gifting in check

Yes, gifting friends and relatives may be indispensable during the holiday season. However, you can always cut down on indulging and self-pampering, right?

The whole idea of self-gifting is more popular now than ever before. People go to online retail stores intending to buy gifts for others then they come across clothing or accessories that they ‘can’t resist’ and end up splurging on items for themselves.

Sometimes the limited offers such as buy 2 and get 1 free or 50% discount seem to be so good, that people think – “I am saving a great deal of money by purchasing this item now” when in reality you are spending more money now.

If you can’t resist buying yourself a few items, try doing your shopping online where you’re less likely to see something that you want for yourself.

4. Stay conscious about convenience costs

Convenience expenses are another kind of hidden cost in itself. The holiday season throws us out of our usual schedule by adding extra responsibilities and activities. To keep up with such tasks, we are willing to pay for convenience at times. After all, it is much easier to order food when you have to decorate your home for Christmas or getting a pizza for the kids if we need to reach the grocery store before it closes.

Besides, all of the time spent while shopping often leads to many unnecessary purchases such as expensive coffee, or tempting beverages, all-time hit snacks, or your kids all-time favourite chocolates, to name a few. These expenses appear minor at the time, but each drop makes an ocean. It is the same in the case of money.

5. Make your own gifts

Purchasing gifts for loved ones is great, but no gesture is as personal and loving as a handmade gift. Your friends and relatives will appreciate the time and effort you put into preparing something nice for a specific individual.

It is great because it not only adds a personal touch to things but also helps you save up on your Christmas budget by leaps and bounds. So, get creative and design something eye-catching in the form of what could be bookmarks, baked goodies like a cake or cookies, or simply invite them over for a special homemade dinner.

6. Take shortcuts while traveling (if the lockdown and rules allow)

Yes, it may seem ridiculous. However, every penny saved can count when it comes to Christmas expenses.

Most families like to travel to meet their friends and extended family during Christmas. Traveling back and forth leads to considerable travel or fuel costs.

Being together as a family to celebrate the season is surely very important, but it is even more fun if the journey is planned and the routes are short. Look for ways to limit your travel costs.

7. Keep a track of spending

One component of wise financial stewardship is to stay aware of the way you spend your money on a daily basis. This is true for life in general, but even more so for the holiday season.

Keeping track of your expenses during December will help you to know if you need to curtail a few costs and avoid extra shopping to stay within the budget. A good tip is to maintain a journal in which you can note down all your expenses. Take stock of your expenses at the end of each day by recording the items you spent money on that day. If you are on track with your daily budget then you are right on track with your Christmas budget.

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8. Set the expectations straight

For people who intend on keeping expenditure on Christmas gifts to a bare minimum, it’s a good idea to sit down with family members and discuss things to avoid over-expecting. Say, your kids are used to getting a whole bunch of gifts during Christmas. However, this year they will only receive three gifts from you. One gift that they want, one that they need, and one experience that they can share with the family.

So, take the time to inform your kids about what you intend on doing so that it does not come as a surprise to them. Similarly, if you intend to take a new gifting approach to your extended family, it is advised to inform them early on about your decision and why you decided to have it this way.

9. Always keep a check on the credit card statement

At the peak of the shopping season, most of us tend to pay for our shopping expenses through our credit cards just because it is convenient. We get carried away easily with our purchases and realise how much we have spent when it is too late. Hence, it is highly recommended to take a look and keep score of your credit card statement as much as possible. It will help you keep extra fees and interests that are charged to your card at the lowest. So, you won’t be shocked to find out that you actually spent an exorbitant amount of money when your credit statement comes in.

10. Organize a Potluck Meal

Instead of preparing or ordering an entire dinner all by yourself, it is better to have each of your friends and relatives bring in a single dish. In other words, suggest a potluck meal where everyone is encouraged to bring a dish.

Not only will it add to the excitement of who’s bringing what, but it will be a memory that everyone will remember for years to come. Most importantly, it will also save you from having to cover all the expenses of a multi-course meal all by yourself!

Avoiding overspending during the holiday season may not be easy to pull off! It requires extra time and effort, but come January you should be able to thank yourself for it.

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