We all love the extra wine, mince pies, and seasonal songs of the festive season – but that doesn’t mean that Christmas isn’t a stressful situation – particularly for the bill payers in the household. At the end of the day, when you add everything up, from the gifts to the turkey, you discover that Christmas is easily one of the most expensive times of the year.
The good news is that you don’t have to commit yourself to taking on debt every time December rolls around. If you’re willing to budget your money carefully and make a few strategic changes to your festive plans, you could keep your overspending to a minimum. Here are just a few tips for managing your cash flow this Christmas.
Consider Using a Cashback Credit Card
A lot of people use credit cards for their Christmas gifts these days. By spending on a credit card instead of taking money out of your bank account, you give yourself a little more time to find the money you owe. If you’re going to be using your credit card anyway, then you might find that it’s helpful to apply for a cashback credit card, instead of a regular one. That way, you’ll earn a small percentage of anywhere up to 5% back on all your purchases.
Do Most of Your Buying Online
While wandering around in the snow and enjoying the Christmas displays can be part of the fun of the festive season, it’s important to remember that you’re more likely to spend extra in-store, compared to when you shop online. Shopping online allows you to more easily compare and contrast prices while reducing the chances that you’ll fall victim to tempting additional purchases. You might even find exclusive voucher codes that you can use to reduce your expenses even more when you’re shopping online.
Book Your Train Tickets Early
Paying for travel over the festive period is still a form of shopping, but it’s something that a lot of families seem to forget about until the last minute. This means that you could end up paying inflated prices on your fares. If you can book your tickets early, then you may be able to make the most of early-bird discounts, and leave more money in your holiday budget for other things like extra sweets or gifts.
Don’t Overdo It with Food
If you’re responsible for cooking Christmas dinner for the whole family this year, it’s important to be careful with the way you buy your food for the big day. It’s always tempting to go over-the-top for Christmas meals because you not only want to have all your favourite flavours on your plate, but you also want to make sure that you can impress your family and friends too. However, at the end of the day, the more you buy, the more money you’re effectively throwing in the trash at the end of the day when you’re pouring all that un-used food into the bin. Make a list of exactly how much food you need in advance, and stick to it.
Be Organised with Everything
Making a list isn’t just a good idea when it comes to planning your food spend over the Christmas season either. You might find that saving cash is a lot simpler if you can organise everything to ensure that you know exactly what you’re buying, and why. For instance, write down everyone you want to buy a gift for this year, and give each person on your list a strict budget for spending. Don’t go over the amount you reserve for each of your friends and family members – no matter how tempted you might be.
Make the Most of Voucher Codes
If there was ever a time of year to be frugal and use the internet to your advantage, it has to be Christmas. While the colder months of the year are naturally more expensive, there are always things that you can do to improve your chances of keeping costs low. For instance, try looking for discount and voucher codes for your favourite stores before you buy any gifts. You can even check social media for updates from some of the best brands around.
Get Free Delivery
Finally, remember that although shopping online can be a lot cheaper than spending money in person, it also means that you need to factor shipping and handling costs into your budget. That is, of course, unless you can find options for free delivery instead. Try signing up for a month of free Amazon Prime over December to get quick next-day delivery on all your gifts for free. At the same time, you can use the service to listen to music and watch videos online too!
*This is a collaborative post.