It’s Christmas season already and it would be quite normal for people to start thinking of how to save their money so that they don’t end up panicking after the holidays.
If you don’t want to panic after the holiday you need to be more thoughtful about your spending and savings this year.
Follow the lead of an average employee and try trimming your spending without losing out on anything this Christmas.
- MAKE A BUDGET
What has your budget always been like? Do you think it’s time to cut it down? At this point maybe it’s time to set a limit for how much you need to spend and stick to it.
The best way to stay on track during the holiday is by budgeting for it, and working towards that budget.
Now there are some mistakes people make when setting a budget, try not to be a victim. So the first is setting a tight budget (something that might be way too little and may not even be enough at all) and the second is “not putting everything you need into consideration or maybe forgetting some things” (remember, apart from the gifts you need to give out, there are other expenses like family outing, travel, party, charity donations, and other activities). This is where thorough thinking comes in.
Making any of these mistakes can make you get tired or even frustrated that you just fling out our budget list through the window. In other to avoid this, all you need to do is think things over to be sure you are not making any mistakes or leaving anything out. Then add a little extra to your budget in case of unexpected costs.
After setting your budget above, the only way you can stick to it is by making a plan that falls into that budget.
The popular saying that “he who fails to plan, plans to fail” comes to play here as making a budget is not an issue but when you don’t plan for something that falls into it may make you end up exceeding the budget.
So how do we plan towards our budget? The first thing I do personally during Christmas is to keep the fund budgeted for Christmas in a separate account entirely, that way, I can track my spending. It also ensures you don’t exceed what you have already budgeted.
Feel free to write down your budget, and the price allocated for everything, you can also use a spreadsheet so you always go back to it and check if you are still on track.
- MAKE A LIST
I am sure part of what you have on your list gifts for family and friends, now this is why it is important to plan ahead. What are those important things you need to buy? Don’t end up buying things that may not be useful later.
Are there people you need to take out from the list? (Though not people who will easily notice), don’t hesitate to pull them out. Truthfully, not everyone needs that gift so why waste money on it.
If it’s not necessary then save the money for something else.
What about giving out gifts individually to your colleagues or friends? Don’t do it if you are not cut in for it. Join your teammates to contribute and buy gifts for your boss and don’t take part in the “random gift exchange thingy” if you are not cut out for it so that you don’t end up spending above your budget.
There are other things you may be able to do for people rather than spending money on gifts for them and it will be well appreciated. You can offer to spend time with them, make charitable donations in their name, prepare a meal for them, give them a frame that has their picture on it and many more.
Finally, you can re-gift old presents you never used instead of throwing them away, It saves money and keeps a gift from going unused and wasted.
You really need to be more sentimental while spending as that is one of the ways you will get to see sincere smiles on the faces of your loved ones.
- SHOP ON TIME
“The earlier, the better”.
Don’t wait till its promo time or black Friday to shop for Christmas. Start your shopping early so that you don’t end up spending and stressing much altogether.
If you are shopping online, you also need to do that early; sure you don’t want the overnight shipping costs to ruin your budget.
Also, don’t forget to look out for discount codes and combine all your orders while shopping so that you reduce the cost of buying and shipping.
If you didn’t start shopping on time this year, then this is an opportunity for you as you can plan ahead next year.
- GIVE FEWER GIFTS
If you are used to giving out so many gifts to different people, then it’s time to cut it down. As said in #3 of this post about making a list, you have to be sentimental in giving out those gifts.
I have 4 siblings, 3 in-laws, and 2 nephews. If I am to buy things for them it has to be for everyone and it is something they need and not what they want. Don’t forget the difference between “needs” and “want”.
So instead of buying a Christmas tree and cards with a bottle of wine or two for each family and Christmas clothes for my nephews, I will rather buy food items within my budget and a cup of sweets or chocolates for nephews. What do you think?
Also rather than take my kids to fast food to eat, wouldn’t it be more fun to stack all the food in the booth and take then to a park or to the beach?
So the point is… rather than buying gifts individually for each member of the family whether extended, nuclear or so, buy one gift for each family.
Just something that comes from the heart will be fine. After all, it is said that “A gift from the heart is truly worth its weight in gold”.
- DON’T SPEND ALL THE CASH IN THE ENVELOP
Do you know that when you start saving all the little cash you get during the season, you will be able to restock your kitchen after Christmas? I’ll tell you how…
So when I was in high school, I used to love drinks to the extent that I don’t eat any meal without a drink.
I realized I was spending more as I was no longer at home to take drinks from the fridge whenever I wanted, funny enough I don’t finish a bottle so when I remain I trash it as there was no fridge to store it. So I came up with a plan.
When I went home for Christmas, I got a savings box, so when people give me money during the holiday, instead of buying drinks or chocolates, I put the money in my box.
After the holiday, I broke the box and realized I had enough money to buy a fridge and since then, instead of buying 2 drinks a day, I buy just one and put the other money in my savings box.
So you see that instead of using the money given to you and your family during Christmas to go to the movies or buy unnecessary things, you can save it and restock your kitchen by January.
- DON’T BE TEMPTED TO BUYS THINGS FOR YOURSELF
Make the season about others and not yourself. Don’t be tempted to buy gifts for yourself when you’re shopping for others and don’t forget that things will get cheaper after the holidays, so think twice before spending on yourself.
Another way to make sure you don’t make the mistake of spending more is by going out without your credit cards. It would be better to go out with the specific cash you need for that purpose so that you don’t fall into the temptation of spending more.
If you are going out to drink with friends, it would be better to go out with our budget for that and nothing more.
- DO EXTRA WORK AND MAKE MORE MONEY
In order to cover up for the extra cash spent during the Christmas holiday, you can do side jobs during your free time.
The very best thing you can do to save money this Christmas is to budget. When you make a plan and stick to your budget, you will catch all the fun you want this holiday and still have more than enough even after the holidays to fall back on.
Instead of buying things, consider going places this year. Take your loved ones out to catch some fun. Not only do you get to enjoy the excitement together when you all go out, but you also get to look forward to the outing itself.
So those are some ideas to help you reduce the stress that the overspending causes during the holidays. If you have experience of reducing costs and saving more during the holiday, without spoiling the fun of Christmas let us know how you did it so others can learn.