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As Christmas comes knocking, most people worry about the spending that this time of year demands. You want, perhaps even need, gifts for friends and colleagues, not to mention relatives. For an individual with a family, Christmas expenses become even more of a nightmare. There could be children who have been waiting for particular gifts for the whole year or a partner who needs spoiling.
Then factor in the family dinners and perhaps a few days holiday. It can all get very brutal on your bank account. Here’s a few ideas to stretch those pennies to save you an overspending hangover in the new year.
Earn a Little Extra
Start planning early by trading online with a broker such as CMC Markets. This can get you started on a holiday fund.
Bargain Your Gifts
Gift giving is a tradition for most people even when low on cash. If you must give gifts, shop at bargain stores. A good number of retailers that are online and offline offer great discounts during this season. Take advantage of online calculators to compare deals and evaluate the value of each deal. With discount sites such as Groupon and Living Social, you can quickly search for the best discounts rates to suit your purchase needs. Discounted gift cards are an excellent way to fulfil your Christmas gift list without going overboard.
Getting your Christmas presents at the last minute will cause you to buy impulsively and even extensively. Shopping hours or even days before Christmas can be dangerous to your finances because most retailers may be out of the stuff you want. If it is a special purchase, you may have to pay extra to order and ship it. Then there is the disadvantage of having to settle for alternative items, which may cost more than you had previously planned. Identify the gifts each one is getting early, make a schedule and stick to it. Early shopping will as well give you time to make price comparisons. Additionally, you get the freedom to shop in instalments. You can buy some gifts then wait a few week to get the next batch, giving you time to recover from the previous purchases.
For a large extended family, it can be very expensive getting gifts for everyone. A great alternative is to make some of the presents at home. Kids can help out with simple gifts ideas such as name bracelets and beaded necklaces. Even a mix CD of your aunt’s favourite classics can make an ideal gift. The secret to pulling off homemade gifts is to know the recipients’ personal preferences and creativity. There is a myriad of places from where you can source ideas for such presents.
Make Your Own Decorations
It may seem inconsequential, but saving on your Christmas decorations can mean wonders for your budget. Instead of spending part of your holiday money on decorations that you will throw out in a few days, why don’t you make them? Again, online DIY websites come in very handy here. You can carve up some figurines or mould them to hang on your tree. The best part is that these are durable and can work for the next Christmas and the next one.
Be Creative with Wrapping Paper
Wrapping a Christmas gift does not have to cost you very much. With some creative improvisations, you can have beautifully wrapped presents without hurting your finances. Old magazines, newspapers and comic books can do a nice job for your gift presentation.
Don’t splurge on Food
It sounds impossible since Christmas is all about celebrations, and that means food and drink. These purchases are some of the biggest during this season. It is possible to cut back, though. A “bring a plate” theme for your Christmas celebrations can work very well. It saves you the trouble of spending too much on entertaining guests. If even three or four guests each comes with a bottle of wine, then you get to save a few pounds.
Another reason food eats up almost two-thirds of your Christmas budget is buying too much. Even when entertaining, don’t get food and drinks that will end up in the waste bin. Early planning can help you in this instance. Knowledge about all the meals you will consume helps you execute a plan. Browse online for inexpensive Christmas recipes and the best stores for ingredients.
While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.