You might be thinking it’s a little late to be deliberating your Christmas budget at this point in December and to a degree, you’d be right.
Though arguably, this period can also be the most important time of December to take control of your money.
In the final weeks of the month, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re staying true to the budget you’ve set yourself or revaluate what you intend to spend in the final stages of the year, before it’s too late.
Understand how much money you have at this exact moment
– First things first, you need to ensure you’re not avoiding checking your balance and understand what it is you actually have available right now in your savings or accounts.
Categorically knowing what is in your bank account is crucial in determining how much you can afford to spare across the remainder of Christmas and sometimes it’s easy to think you have more money to play with than you actually do.
This is often done without thought as we lose track of our expenditure and pending transactions, something that can be devastating in this situation.
Making sure you’re on top of these before setting a budget is essential and a simple tip to help you do this when you have an overdraft is to add your ‘current balance’ to your overdraft limit in order to figure out the exact balance you have available.
Rethink what you already have
– No doubt you have some sort of list written that lays out all of the things you need to buy in preparation for the festive period.
From trimmings and decorations to food and presents – all of these cost money and all can be bought in accidental excess. If you already have things in the house that are on the list and can be reused, don’t be afraid to!
For example, you might already have an assortment of decorations from previous years that can be salvaged and reused – Christmas only comes along once a year after all, who really remembers what you had on show previously?
You might also have wrapping paper or gift bags left over from last year and again, nobody is going to remember that you used these before or even care – try your best to take advantage of this.
Additionally, if you buy habitually purchase collections of Christmas cards every year, you’ll probably find a stack of these untouched in your attic that you can send out to your loved ones.
By not looking out for the potential leftovers of these trimmings, it’s easy to spend a lot of your hard earned cash on them once more, before realising you didn’t need them after all.
Last Minute Present Buying
– When it comes to Christmas present buying, we all know that getting purchases out of the way as early as possible is vital in saving you money throughout the month. In particular, when it’s possible – Black Friday is a great opportunity to capitalise upon.
The problem still remains however – that the majority of us are culpable of not learning from our mistakes, still continuing to leave important purchases until the last minute. Every year.
To combat this, yes – presents should be bought as early as possible or even after Christmas if your family love a bargain that much…
Another solution though is to really have a think about what presents you’ve already bought and make certain you definitely need to buy something else before going out to make another purchase.
Have you bought enough presents for your loved ones already? Do you definitely need to buy more? Will they really need the product you’re thinking of purchasing or will it be something that they use once and never again?
Travelling to family occasions
– Finally, across the Christmas period, it’s inevitable that you’ll be travelling the country to see family members or close friends.
This could be on several occasions throughout the festive period and so taking advantage of travelling alternatives could be very beneficial to your budget.
Consider car sharing with other family members also attending the same event to help save money on petrol and in doing so, also have the benefit of only needing one designated driver.
Alternatively, if you have a long way to go and you’re not travelling in a group – you could opt for a national express coach or mega bus to get you to your destination. These are cheaper than almost all forms of transport and will help you to save crucial petrol miles.
Keeping these tips in mind across the latter stages of the month will help you save you an amount worth noticing and ultimately make staying afloat in January just that little bit easier. You can thank us later, of course!