Tips for managing your money at Christmas

Money management at Christmas, is it even possible? Yes, it is! It just requires some planning and a little bit of discipline. For those of you who did not get all your Christmas shopping done on Black Friday or Cyber Monday here are a few tips to help manage your spending over the next three weeks.

 

  1. Be realistic about what you can afford. Santa doesn’t have to bring everything on the list. You don’t have to get expensive perfume for your sister especially if your budget doesn’t reach that far, there are plenty less costly gift options. Don’t forget you may have bills to pay in January, it can be a very long and lean month. So, manage your spending, be strict with yourself. https://www.ccpc.ie/consumers/tools-and-calculators/spending-calculator/.
  1. It’s still not too late to make a list of what you need to do, what you need to get, who you need to buy presents for. Once you have your list keep a running total of what you’ve bought, who it’s for and what you’ve spent. Cross things off the list as you go that way you’re not buying multiple gifts for the same person or overspending on food and drink. Make a list of the following, and what you want to spend on each:
  • Presents
  • Drink
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Socialising
  • Travel Expenses
  • Babysitting
  • Charity donations
  1. As giving presents to everyone could potentially bankrupt you, Kris Kringle has become a very popular way of giving among families and co-workers over the years. Make sure you set a budget with everyone and everyone has to stick to it. This way one and all gets a present under the tree and you’re not broke after the process. It can reduce your presents list substantially and save you money.
  1. Maybe instead of a present, you can offer to babysit for a friend or relative with small children, take your mum or sister out for lunch in the new year, that way you’re not forking out immediately.
  1. Do you have a loyalty card from your favourite store? Why not use the loyalty points you’ve saved up all year to get some presents.
  1. Shop smart and take advantage of the pre-Christmas sales, but don’t be seduced by savvy marketing. Only buy what’s on the list then tick it off and move on. Stick to your plan. Use gift cards or prepaid cards to avoid overspending, going into debt over Christmas is not good money management. Consider giving gift vouchers, new laws mean they are now valid for at least five years. Keep an eye on sites such as Groupon, escapes.ie or sign up to email alerts from hotels they often have offers in the lead up to Christmas.
  1. If you tend to max out your credit card every year then leave it at home. Try to pay for things with cash.
  1. I know it’s easier said than done but don’t overspend and avoid borrowing money from high-cost lenders. If you need to take out a loan talk to your credit union.
  1. Christmas is a great time for socialising and catching up with friends. It can also be expensive so why not invite people round for dinner or drinks in the house. It’s a great way to catch up without breaking the bank.

Watch your spending this Christmas and start the new year with a clean slate. You’ll be glad you did and you can still enjoy your Christmas without the financial stress.

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