As the country deals with the end of the year, at least we have one bright spot to look forward to: Christmas 2016. Retailers are excited, but how do consumers feel about Christmas? If you are one of the millions of people who are planning on doing a lot of Christmas shopping this December, you need to have the ultimate top tips for managing your personal finances.
1. Look for affordable food and drink options
From figs, egg nog to Christmas pudding, we know how to eat well when it comes to this holiday season. It is the perfect time to buy all the yummy fattening foods that you want while doing it on a budget. A new survey cited in the Guardian said that Christmas dinners can be as low as £20, if consumers look around for the best deals. This means going from supermarket to supermarket, using vouchers and doing price-checks online. Food will be a massive cost that you will incur especially if you plan to cook at home. If you are at home with your family, cooking at home will require buying fresh food and stocking up on brand new kitchen utensils. If you plan on eating out this Christmas, it is also a good idea to search for vouchers and deals at restaurants so that you can keep the cost of eating out low.
2. Decide what you want to buy for yourself
One of the biggest trends in Christmas shopping is the rise of shoppers buying presents for themselves. When you were growing up, you were probably used to receiving presents from family and friends. While this is probably still the case, there are more people receiving gifts from themselves. As more consumer choice floods the high street and online shopping becomes bigger, you should be making a list of the types of things you want to buy for yourself this Christmas. Don’t spend your entire Christmas money on yourself – you will need to buy other gifts for friends and family. Writing a list on paper or creating a wishlist online is a good way to keep track of your favourite items and your Christmas money budget.
3. Wait for Boxing Day sales
The old days of lining up before heading into stores on Boxing Days might seem like a long time ago but the day is still important for customers who are looking for bargains. You could wait for Boxing Day but you probably won’t get your pick of the stock that you would want. If getting the right product is what you want, buy things before Christmas. If you are willing to wait to save the most Christmas money, you should opt for Boxing Day.
4. Buy affordable gifts
Affordable gifts are the latest trend in Christmas shopping as more people look for how their money can go further. If you want to find affordable presents, it is time for you to search online and think about what types of presents you want to buy. For example, if you love clothing, you should stay away from expensive luxury brands for Christmas and use this time to buy affordable high street equivalents instead. Not only will these help you have more money for Christmas food and drinks, but you won’t feel like you spent all of your Christmas money on one product. You should use this approach when buying gifts for your family and friends as well.
5. Don’t buy Christmas presents all at once
Some people love buying Christmas gifts all at once. Sometimes this can mean that you instantly spend an entire weekend buying Christmas gifts or you end up without any Christmas money left because you blew your entire shopping budget. Christmas shopping should be spread out so that you can find the best deals and so that you can look for other options. This is especially true if you are shopping for children. Children will assume they are getting all kinds of treats and presents – you might find better choices if you wait and look around instead of buying all your gifts for children in your family at one place.
6. Use cash
Using cash is an excellent way to budget with your Christmas money this month. Cash forces you to make a decision as to whether the product you have chosen is the right one for you and it also helps you to stop overspending. If you have a lot of plastic cards in your wallet, this can encourage you to spend more money than you need to. Use cash if you want to have a measured approach to shopping this Christmas.
7. Don’t shoulder the entire cost of a Christmas party
Where would Britain be without the standard Christmas party? From food to Christmas songs, Christmas parties have become part of our culture and how we have a good time in December. However, they can be expensive if you try and pay for everything alone such as decorations, hiring a DJ and food and drinks for the party. If you are throwing a Christmas party at home, you should consider asking your flatmates or family to chip in so that the cost does not take over. Party costs can quickly spiral out of control especially if people do not bring their own drinks. If your Christmas party is being thrown by work, you probably will not have to pay anything extra but just be aware of how much the party can cost and be sure to behave appropriately.
Christmas is meant to be a time where you can reconnect with family and friends, as well as relax before going back to work in January. Finances should help create the foundation for a fun Christmas and they should not take away the fun if you have money problems. Enjoy this year’s Christmas with a sharp eye on the money and remember You Can’t Always Count On Santa!