They say that “The Best Things in Life are Free.” And yet, so many people fall into debt over the festive season.
I hear so many parents say :
“But my kids need the same stuff as their friends.”
“I don’t want my child to miss out.”
Let me offer you some helpful tips to avoid the Christmas Overspend Hangover :
1. Start Saving Now : It’s never too late
“Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.”
There are countless ways to watch what you’re spending :
- Monitor unnecessary spendings – watch the extra lattes & takeaways
- Plan your meals – this avoids wasting food
- Whilst it’s a pain – switching energy providers certainly saves money
2. Create a Separate Christmas account
This helps you better track the money going in and the money going out.
Perhaps, explore the option to move bank accounts or credit cards; as many financial institutions offer a cash incentive if you open an account with them.
3. Make Lists
Lists help you keep track of what you are doing. When things get chaotic – the lines get blurred. Lists most definitely reduce your impulse buying.
4. Avoid Costs : Give Time
Rather than spend money on gifts, offer your time. Suggestions include :
- Babysitting hours
- Dog walking
- Offer a foot massage
- Take the kids for a weekend
Get creative and design a voucher for your recipient.
5. Buy Online : Look for CASHBACK Offers
There are many different sites that help you gain money back on your purchases. However, make sure that you are making the purchase – because you need it – not because of the lure of the money back.
6. Introduce Secret Santa
This is where a group of people agree to pool their resources and each buy for only one person. Be it for work colleagues or family members. The benefit is that the recipient gets one higher value present, instead lots of token gifts.
7. Manage your Child’s Expectations
“Kids nowadays don’t appreciate the true value of things.”
As the parent, I suggest that it’s your job to educate them.
Let them Contribute : If your child is old enough to understand that Santa can no longer provide the big presents – then perhaps they could be encouraged to help contribute financially. If they cannot offer money, perhaps they could do chores around the house in lieu of the gifts they wish to receive.
Defer the Present : If your child requests vouchers, gift cards and money, then, they can hit the sales ( a couple of days after Christmas ) and purchase their gifts for less money.
8. Ban Unnecessary Spending
Talk to relatives and friends and find out if you can come to an agreement regarding gift allocation. Some options for discussion :
- Presents for children only
- Agree not to buy presents for one another
- Amount to spend on Adults
- Amount to spend on Children
- Contribution for drinks and food
9. Have your travel plans well mapped out
Purchasing your travel tickets in advance keep the costs down.
10. Sell Stuff on eBay
“One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.”
Search your home for sellable items. Within a couple of days you can boost the coffers to alleviate Christmas spending. You can also access the marketplace option on Facebook.
“Enjoy the little things.
As one day you’ll realise they were the big things.”
Clichéd as it may sound – Christmas is all about celebrating with your loved ones – spending time together. This season is all about creating memories.
I remember one particular Christmas – many years ago. Alice printed out a song sheet and, in between the turkey and the plum pudding, we all sang Christmas songs. It was a very special moment…
Did I remember what presents I received? No.
Did I remember the presents I gave? No.
So perhaps … “The Best Things in Life are Free.”
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