The Christmas ads and movies are back on our TVs. Christmas is coming, and you are making your list, getting the decorations out, and making plans to have a fantastic holiday. So, today I will be sharing eight money tips for Christmas and how to have a financially-smart Christmas.
We all know how these things go; Christmas comes, and we spend a lot on food, gifts, hangout, and other fun stuff, but then January comes in all its glory with its 70 days.
The month of January goes on and on like an endless journey and leaves us sober and broke. This is because we have not had a financially-smart Christmas.
This post aims to help you put things into perspective and make wise money plans so that your January will have 31 days and not 70 days.
I am a big fan of Christmas. I love Christmas, the décor, the gift-giving, the excitement in the air and everything about Christmas, and so even though I will be sharing with you some Christmas frugal ideas, I am still keen for you to have a lot of fun.
Now, let’s get right into it.
1. Put Christmas on a Budget
When I say you should put Christmas on a budget, I don’t mean you should have a cheap, poor, or broke Christmas. Instead, plan how much you want to spend on Christmas. Decide how much goes into Christmas decoration, food, gift-giving, Christmas activities, Christmas outfits (including your matching family pyjamas) and put them into a budget.
If you are wondering how much you should be spending on Christmas, it shouldn’t exceed one per cent of your annual income. So if you are someone who earns £24000 annually, then your Christmas should be £240. That £240 should cater for your food, décor, gifts, activities and everything you need for Christmas.
2. Track Christmas Expenses
The second thing you need to do is track your Christmas expenses against your budget. It is not enough to make your budget, put it aside, and go, “well, I need to spend £250; I can calculate it in my head. I am sure I am still within budget”. Then you get carried away and start ordering everything online and going to Tesco twice. No!
As you make your expenses, write them down against your budget and keep tracking so that you can know how much of your budget is remaining by the time you need to do your Christmas food shopping.
So as you are shopping for gifts, décor, clothing, don’t forget to leave aside money for the Christmas turkey you have in the budget. There should be no room for overspending.
3. Prioritize Activities over Gifts
Adopt the experiential Christmas. Let your Christmas be less of gifts and more of experiences.
This year is our third year of having an experiential Christmas for adults in my family. Adults don’t get any, but the kids do because they believe Santa has to come because they have displayed good behaviour all year.
But for adults, we have learned to move away from gift-giving to making Christmas a happy, positive and, memorable experience for ourselves.
It’s high time you also started to think about making Christmas more about activities than gifts. Your local council can tell you what activities are bound to happen in your local areas.
Some apps can tell you what activities are happening locally around you that you can attend. You can attend carol singing services, they are free and fun, and you get to create memories with your families.
4. Practice Creative Gifting and DIY Gifts
Over the years, Christmas has become heavily commercialised by businesses and the media. They have made it easy for us to believe that Christmas is only about gifts, new outfits and partying.
However, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gift of salvation. It is a time to be with your family, bond with people you love, rest, and plan for the New Year.
But if you must give gifts, think about being creative with your presents. DIY gifts are great.
You can make and frame paintings, cook and deliver, or bake Homemade cakes. So, if you are good with your hands, you can make things and give them to people.
Personally, a DIY gift means so much to me because this person has committed their time and energy to create this gift. Don’t be too quick to whip out your card and go on Amazon or any of those websites to shop for presents when you can think about what you can DIY.
A DIY gift shows that you’ve committed your time, energy, and your creative juices to make these gifts while you are also saving money.
It is a win-win for you and the person receiving the gift.
5. Use Comparison Websites when Shopping.
If you must shop for gifts, it is best to use comparison websites. Google shopping is very good for comparing deals and prices of things you want to buy before buying them.
Make sure you get the best deals for the presents you are trying to purchase. Don’t just go to the site you shop from and buy at whatever price they have. Compare prices before you make that purchase.
6. Use Cashback Websites
Also, while shopping, try to use cashback websites. Once you do your shopping via cashback sites, they will pay you. The pay is very little, but it all adds up. So if you are going to shop for gifts online, make use of cashback websites.
7. Do a Pre-Christmas Clear out
Now is the best time to do a pre-Christmas clear out of all the things you have not used from the beginning of the year or do not need anymore and would rather not have in the house.
They should be cleared out and put up for sale. You can make for yourself some extra cash by selling them through sites like eBay, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, etc. If it is clothing, you can sell through Vinted and preloved.
In the US, you can sell through Decluttr, Mercari, and Poshmark. There are so many platforms to sell things online that you don’t need or want anymore. Clearing your space will also help you have more room for the new items coming after Christmas, and you get to make some extra cash that can go into your Christmas budget.
Doing this gives you a little more wiggle as you shop for your Christmas gift, food, and everything you have to get to make Christmas fun,
8. Don’t go overboard
I am as guilty of this as you are. I find myself buying a turkey that’s too big, a lot of starters, extra ice cream, and snacks, and more desserts. We end up buying so more food than we need.
And, then days and days after Christmas, we are still struggling to eat the leftover turkey and eating unhealthy snacks and fizzy drinks that we have bought for Christmas. So bear in mind that you don’t have to clear out Tesco and fill up your trolley with chocolates, turkey, dessert, extra turkey, and all those extra stuff.
This Christmas, be financially-smart, don’t go overboard with food, count the number of people you are expecting for Christmas and make a food shopping list to match that number.
You don’t need to have 20 starters and all the desserts if you are not hosting a big crowd.
I have now shared eight tips to help you have a financially-smart Christmas. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas.
Keep living that Bulletproof life.
Till next time,