Christmas Money - Hints to help you manage
Christmas money is a area of spending that affects almost everyone. There are many things you can do to make
Christmas less of a financial burden.
A little preparation can go a long way to making your Christmas more relaxing, and cheaper.
Christmas Comes but Once a Year
It's true, Christmas comes only once a year. It comes every year. It comes on the same date. At Christmas, money
is almost always an issue for most people.
A little forethought and preparation can make Christmas much less stressful and more fun. This page is intended
to provide some ideas.
Saving for Christmas
Calculate how much you need to spend on Christmas. Remember it is not just gifts, you also need to think about
food, decorations, travel etc. Divide this amount by 12 and save this amount each month. If you spread the cost
this way you then find the Christmas becomes much more affordable. If you put the money into a savings account then
you will get interest on it throughout the year. You will actually end up with more to spend. This is the reverse
of what a lot of people do. They spend money they do not have using credit cards, pay it back over 12 months and
allow the credit card companies to charge them interest.
You can use this method to pay for anything that you need to pay in a lump sum. Save for your insurance, holiday
and for regular bills. There are computer programs to help you keep track of this sort of saving using an
'Envelope' system. The program divides your bank balance up into virtual envelopes so you know how much you have
saved for each future expense. You have an envelope marked Christmas Money. If you do this then bills and expensive
times like Christmas become much less daunting because you already have the money that you need.
Use Discount Coupons
Whenever you can, use coupons to reduce the cost of your purchases (Xmas or otherwise). You can do this
throughout the year as different coupons or vouchers become available. This is especially useful for items that
make good general gifts such as perfumes and items of clothing. You can store these and give them at Christmas (or
even next Christmas). You might buy some gifts for a 2-3 year old child knowing that you can give them in a couple
of years when a baby has grown. Be careful that you do not spend money just to use a coupon. If Christmas money is
short then you need to be thrifty. Make sure that it is useful and that it is a real saving.
Buy on the Internet
There are many Internet sites that can save you money when purchasing Christmas gifts. You can use specialist
sites like Amazon. You could use Ebay. You could also use a 'Shopbot' or price comparison site that will search
many sellers on the Internet and report back the results. If you are particularly short at Christmas, money can be
saved by using gift vouchers that you may have been given to allow you to buy gifts. This will free up cash for
other essential spending.
Buying for Next Christmas
Often the cheapest time to buy for next Christmas is just after the last one. Buy gifts in the sales. Especially
items that you can keep for next year without them spoiling or becoming out of date. Christmas cards are a good
example. You can get really attractive cards at a fraction of their normal price.
Treasure Chest / Gift Drawer
Buy gifts for Xmas throughout the year, not just in December. Put any items you buy as bargains into a drawer or
box and keep them for when they are needed.
You can use this as a resource for birthday gifts, going-away presents or any other occasion. At least once a
year, go through the drawer so that you know what 'Treasure' you have available. This is most useful when at
Christmas money is short and you need to spend on food and other preparations that you cannot buy in advance.
Look in your treasure chest when you make your Christmas list and you may find that you already have many of
your gift problems solved.
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