You are probably reading the title of this article and thinking ‘Christmas, already?’ but the reality is – getting Christmas right financially can take months of preparation. From buying your wrapping paper to those expensive presents demanded by the children all year long, the importance of maximising cost-saving cannot be underestimated.
Here are 5 pieces of advice that can help you plan how much you are going to spend this Christmas.
1. Budget Budget Budget: Setting a strict budget that takes into account food, drink, decorations and presents will go a long way to preventing you from spending a fortune this Christmas. If you are able to do this early, you will be in a better place to prioritise the amount of spending that you do personally and for other people.
If you find midway through the year that you find one aspect of the budget is proving too costly, you need to either remain stubborn or adjust your budget accordingly. To take food and drink as an example, try and make your purchases well in advance of the Christmas rush to make savings. Although this spending activity may not result in astronomical savings, it is still likely to free up your budget for a more expensive Christmas present.
2. Needs vs Wants: There is a temptation to splash out on loved ones at Christmas, although this needs to be carefully managed over the course of the year if you are going to start shopping early. If you have bought a product and walk out the store thinking ‘How am I going to pay for this?’ you are not doing it right.
Think of the family members that you have bought Christmas presents for previously but are unlikely to see for the rest of the year. Is it time to consider not giving this time round or decide to place a price cap on presents? This will save you the financial worries going in to the New Year.
Tip: Use this budget planner from mumsnet to start thinking about potential Christmas savings. If you are excited for the festive season already, also take a look at the countdown calendar.
3. Visit independent stores for cost-savings: For smaller Christmas essentials such as wrapping paper and tree decorations it is often much cheaper to visit independent chain stores. Use tools such as the Outlet Store Discount Finder to think about whether certain brands fit into your budget, and make a decision from there.
Tip: British entrepreneur Sarah Willingham blogged about the importance of supporting local independent stores and how it can benefit both you and the wider economy.
4. Indulge in extreme couponing:
High-street stores and supermarkets revel in the holiday season, seeing it as an opportunity to attract new customers by offering products at reduced prices. Alternatively, if you have a loyalty card, consider saving all your rewards throughout the year, leaving you in a better position to spend them more effectively later in the summer.
Tip: Visit moneysupermarket.com to find out the latest discounts & offer from your favourite brands.
5. Use social media to your advantage: During the festivities, it is commonplace to use Facebook and Twitter to get in touch with friends and families to send them greetings. Social media can provide you with invaluable financial advice to help you save this Christmas.
Tip: We recommend following the Twitter accounts below:
Top Tip: You can already get stuck in to your Christmas spending early to make sure you have everything you need for the festive season, with artificial christmas trees already available to order from Bents.