If you’re dreading January already, the credit card bills, the scrimping and saving for Christmas, then now is the time to do something about it. You don’t have to accept Christmas debt, you can take steps to create and stick to a sensible budget for this coming festive period.
Work out how much you are going to spend
Think about everything you’ll have at your disposal. This includes the points balances on loyalty cards, unused vouchers, and stamp schemes if you’ve been using any. And of course your salary. When you’ve totted everything up, then you can work out how much to allocate to everybody, and don’t forget travel, food and drink expenses.
Make a list and keep checking it
You need to be more vigilant than Father Christmas, who only checks his list twice… This list should have everyone on it, from your spouse and children to the school caretaker, so you can decide how much to spend on each person. The total figure here must be less than your budget, because you also have to factor in travel, food and accessories like wrapping paper.
Sign up for Amazon’s free delivery service
If you’ve never used Amazon Prime before then you’ll get a month for free, so sign up for this at the start of December. Even if you have used it before, it costs less than £10 a month, so just make sure you cancel it in time. If you’re doing a lot of your shopping online, then you’ll be sure to save around £20 in postage fees.
Get into the habit of looking for voucher codes
You’ve got your Christmas list, and you know roughly what it’s going to cost. However, there’s always the chance to knock a few pounds off here and there, if you are prepared to look for discount codes from the retailers. If you can get a 10% discount on half of your presents, then the savings can soon mount up..
Abandon your shopping basket
Not literally in the middle of an aisle, but online! Many retailers have an automated system, that picks up baskets that have been abandoned just before checkout. The same system sends you an email to remind you about the item, and also to offer a discount, a freebie, or free shipping. It’s worth leaving a few baskets here and there, and then checking your emails.
Leave some presents until the last minute
The smaller, more readily available presents can be left until December 21st or 22nd, to see if the retailer reduces the price, or starts offering a BOGOF or three for two offer. Don’t try this with this year’s must have toy though, or it could backfire badly!
Think about next Christmas as well
Think about it, you know that your mobile and electricity bills are due every month. You always make sure that you have the money to pay them, so why not apply this principle to Christmas. It’s not like you don’t know when it’s coming. Try to buy a few gifts in the January sales, or maybe pick up some half price cards and wrapping paper as these items can add up, especially if you have a lot of people to buy for.