Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year. Not only do you have to buy presents, but there is the cost of food, entertainment and even travel to see friends and family.
The problem is, most people are still paying off the previous Christmas when the next Christmas comes along!
With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can survive the cost of Christmas and not spend the rest of the year paying it off and worrying about it.
Firstly, set yourself a budget for Christmas for presents, food, entertainment and travel. You will have a good idea how much it will all cost from previous years, so work it out from those figures. Avoid overstretching yourself on the costs of everything. Don't feel the need to spend hundreds of dollars on presents if you don't have that kind of money.
Secondly, start planning early on. Start the New Year by putting money away safe for Christmas. If you put away $100 a month you will have $1200 available at Christmas time. You will find that much easier than getting to December and realising you need to find $1200 to pay for everything.
You can also start preparing in advance. Start buying food that will last as early as September so you spread the cost out. Book any travel tickets and entertainment as far in advance as possible as you will benefit from reduced costs and can make significant savings.
If you shop around for presents and food you can often make some very substantial savings. When Christmas approaches, shops start trying to outdo each other with offers and bargains. If you pay attention to advertising and look around the different supermarkets you can often find the same gifts or food items at very different prices. This year we found large tins of sweets at almost half price as the various supermarkets tried to beat each other. This competitive nature really benefits you, the customer
After Christmas is over, go out to the shops and buy your wrapping paper, Christmas cards and any Christmas decorations you want for the next year. Shops do not want to store Christmas products for an entire year when they could be using the space for more current products which they can sell. Shops hate having stock sitting around not selling.
Take advantage of the massive savings available on Christmas products right after Christmas and store them until the next Christmas. You can often make savings of 50% up to 75% and sometimes even more. Particularly check out the smaller stores as they are the ones that really can’t afford to have stock sitting around for twelve months not making them any money.
With a bit of careful planning and thought, you can make Christmas an affordable time of year instead of the financial nightmare it is for so many people. Enjoy your Christmas and the freedom this planning will give you.
By Jason E Johns DHyp, CMH, CPNLP
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