Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!
Christmas money saving tips from Logbook Loans!
Christmas is probably the last thing you want to think about right now. For many people it is simply not the “most wonderful time of the year”. There can be all kinds of reasons for this, but one of them is money. Or lack of it. Many people dread Christmas coming because they just know that they will spend far too much money and end up in serious debt come January.
So this year make things different. It is possible to make this Christmas your best yet but not overspend. But to do this you need to plan ahead, starting right now.
Let’s look at a simple Four Point Plan on how to do this.
- Plan your budget and stick to it
One of the reasons people overspend is because you have not planned your spending. Sometimes this is lack of organisation but often it’s because you are scared to even think about the amount of money that might be involved. So the first thing to do is to it down and make a list of everything that you think you will need to buy this Christmas. Include absolutely everything: presents, cards, postage, food, drink, decorations, going out, travel and anything else you think you will need to spend.
Then work out how much money you have to spend, and divide it between everything on your list so that there is a budget for each item.
If you have enough money that’s great: but do make sure that you stick to the budget as you begin to spend money on Christmas things. In a notebook or on your computer or phone keep a record of everything you spend so that you can keep to your budget and can immediately see if things are going wrong.
If you do not have enough money to cover everything on your list then you need to take action otherwise you will end up in debt. Read on for ideas as to what you can do.
- Cut down the cost of presents
Everyone loves to give presents but there is always pressure to spend too much. We are bombarded by advertisements portraying the perfect Christmas and trying to persuade us to buy things that are way beyond our budget. If you want to stay out of debt this Christmas you need to steel yourself to ignore these and do things a different way.
Firstly are there people on your present list that perhaps you no longer need to buy presents for? If all the adult members of the family are all buying each other gifts, then maybe it is time to suggest stopping that. You could either just buy presents for the children or you could do a Secret Santa between the adults, so that everyone gets one decent gift instead of lots of little ones. It will work out cheaper and will probably be appreciated more.
Also when buying presents for children of family members do agree an upper price limit between parents. This not only saves money but avoids awkwardness and ill feeling if one child gets a present that is obviously way more expensive than another.
With presents it really is the thought that counts. The people you are giving gifts to would not want you to put yourself in financial difficulty just to get them an expensive present. Much better to give a small but well thought through gift. Don’t rule out buying gifts from online sites such as eBay or from charity shops: you can often get new goods at a fraction of the full price. Just because they’ve been sitting in someone’s cupboard for a while doesn’t make them any less acceptable. So do shop around.
Also consider either making your own gifts or even offering your time as a gift. For example instead of buying a couple a gift, you could prepare a homemade gift voucher entitling them to free babysitting once a month, cooking for a dinner party for them or helping to decorate their home. There are so many things like this that people would really like doing for them, and would make such a difference: choose wisely and it could truly be a Christmas gift that goes on giving. And doesn’t cost you a penny!
Why not check out a previous article on Christmas presents that don’t cost the earth?
- Cut down the cost of food and drink
A lot of overspending on food and drink comes down to panic buying too much food at the last minute. We suddenly worry that there will not be enough food but then usually end up with lots of waste afterwards. If you plan your menus carefully you can avoid this.
There are so many Christmas recipes – both in books and on websites – that it‘s a good idea to set aside an evening to plan all your food. Where possible plan dishes that use some of the same ingredients so that you can buy in bulk and save money that way. Then shop around to get the best supermarket deals going. Buy as much as you can in advance to spread the cost and avoid last minute rushing around.
Also be mindful of portion sizes. Most of us tend to be overly generous with these, which again leads to waste. But on the other hand you don’t want guests going hungry and thinking you are mean. So have a browse of the website Love Food, Hate Waste for guidance on portion sizes – and other great ways to save money on food.
Most people also spend far too much money on drinks over Christmas. We try to cater for every possible combination of what people might like but this turns out to be horribly expensive. So this year make the decision to stick to a basic choice of drinks and if people have other preferences then ask them to bring their own.
Why not also make this the year when yes you enjoy a few drinks but don’t drink to excess? You will feel much better if you don’t drink continually through the season: and will spend a lot less money in the process.
- Raise more money
If you have followed all the above and there is still a shortfall in your Christmas budget then you need to raise some additional funds to get through the festive season. There are various ways you can try to do this:
- Extra work
In the run up to Christmas there may be seasonal work available; something you could do for a few evenings or weekends to fit in around your day job. Try looking at hotels, bars and other Christmas party and entertainment venues.
Another option is to try and initiate some work opportunities locally such as babysitting, pet care, cleaning, garden clearing, DIY or odd jobs.
If going out to do extra work is difficult for you then try looking online. There are many Internet sites – such as Upwork and Amazon Mechanical Turk – that advertise all kinds of extra work opportunites that you can do from home.
As well or instead of taking on extra work you could consider selling stuff. Either things you have and no longer need, or things that you make yourself. There are plenty of opportunities for both these; for example online sites such as eBay or Shpock or Gumtree, or local options such as Christmas fairs, car boot sales, notice boards in shops or local newspapers or social media selling sites.
- A short term loan
The final thing to consider is whether taking out a small loan would be beneficial. If you have a shortfall then it is a better idea to face it up front and plan for it than just slide into uncontrolled overspending. At Logbook Loans we offer a range of short term loans that you can pay back in affordable instalments over a time period to suit your budget, and there is no financial penalty if you end up being able to pay it back earlier than that. This would give you the funds you need for Christmas together with the reassurance of knowing that you are in control of your finances and can pay back the money you have borrowed.
Whatever your plans for Christmas 2018, we hope that our four point plan helps you to manage your money more effectively – and save money wherever possible – so that you can have a merry little Christmas without worrying about money any more.