The holiday season can actually be quite stressful with family commitments, time and perhaps travel as well as the extra financial strain. You are able to reduce the financial stress with a good plan for the holidays. Also, with a plan in place, you can reduce your holiday expenses without it feeling like you are being overly tight for Christmas.
Here are some great saving strategies for the Christmas season.
Start to Shop Earlier
Getting your Christmas shopping started earlier will help to reduce the stress of shopping as you will have more time to find the best prices. Usually, the perfect present is actually not that expensive. By starting your shopping earlier, you can spend less because you have more time and will not panic purchase.
Start a Gift Exchange
If money is tight for you then it might be a good idea to do something similar to the normal gift excahnge with your friends and family. With a gift exchange, you don’t need to give everyone in your family an individual gift, but rather draw names to see who you are buying for or give a family gift instead of individuals.
With a gift exchange with either family or at work, you can set a limit on the amount that is to be spent. This limit should be reasonable and don’t be afraid to ask for a lesser limit.
Limit Your Holiday Travelling
You should look at your other obligations during the holidays and see which ones you are able to cut back on. You could choose to do the holidays at home and then visit family at a different time of year when it is cheaper to travel or if you are going on holiday then you can see where you might be able to make cuts, but still have a good time.
If money is tight, then prioritise which aspects of the holiday celebrations are the most important to you and limit the other ones, so you can make it happen.
Wait…There are more saving strategies…
Create a Holiday Budget
Having a holiday budget will help you to stay on track. Many of us will only budget for gifts and forget about the other expenses that might be involved like travel, food, cards and decorations. You need to make a realistic Christmas budget so that you can stay true to this and include everything.
Making the switch to spend cash for the gifts will make it easier to stay on budget. This is because you will become more conscious of the money you are spending. If you use a credit card it will lead you to spend more because it is a lot easier and it doesn’t feel like real money.
Also, keep an eye out for any sales and deals, which are usually rampant during this time so you will have plenty of choices.
Plan for Next Year
You can actually start planning for next year right now. You can save money each month for Christmas and you can even start to purchase gifts throughout the year.
This type of preplanning, will mean that you are spreading your Christmas expenses throughout the year and you won’t take such a big financial hit like you do during December.
You should keep track of who you have gotten gifts for, so you do not buy them more than one gift and store these gifts in one location so you do not lose any.
By already planning for next year, you can take advantage of sales throughout the year. It is not the best idea to buy clothing items or other things that change quickly, but you can get novelty items and other things that would be good gifts.
Don’t Deviate from the Plan
Planning now will help you to save money and will also reduce the stress of the holiday season. You should speak openly with your friends, family and co-workers and come to a reasonable understanding and you might actually be doing them a favour as well.
If you find that there are some people that are not wanting to make these types of cuts over Christmas then just spend less on each gift that you need to get.
If you do find that other people are not willing to make cuts over the festive period then find a way to purchase the gifts you need to, but spend less on each item.
You need to keep your Christmas shopping comfortable to what you can afford so you are not paying off any debt or interest on the purchases for the next year.