20 ways to get your Christmas spending right!
Christmas is financially tight for all of us, so if you want to boost your budget, try my top 20 tips this year!
There’s nothing like a side hustle to give your coffers an appreciated boost at any time of the year, but let’s see what else we have available.
1. Buy gifts throughout the year
A challenge Christmas brings, amongst other things, is the higher than normal spending over a short period of time. Big expenses need planning, so why not either buy gifts throughout the year and stock pile them, especially during sale times, or set a regular standing order to save into a Christmas account. My grandparents would save throughout the year in jars, so this would be the modern-day version. Perhaps this is too late for Christmas 2019, but start in January for next year, it will be here before you know it.
2. Have a gifting rule
The sheer number of gifts can often take the shine away from Christmas making it an indulgence of excessive spending.
Why not agree a gift rule with your friends and family and perhaps limit your children’s gifting to – something they want, something they need, something they could wear, something they would read? Think; Want, Need, Wear, Read!
3. Buy useful stocking fillers
If you have a Christmas stocking, why not look to the year ahead at what they may need and buy useful items for them to unwrap and stuff into the stocking – my daughter always wants new colouring pencils and my son loves his body spray; these may be in their stocking this year!
4. Gift what they need
The worst thing in the world, in my view, is buying a gift for buying’s sake! If it’s not thoughtful and appropriate for the recipient don’t waste your time and money.
Stop buying forgettable £20 gifts, for them to leave in the bottom draw, exchange, or wrap and give away next year. Consider pooling your buying power to buy more appropriate gifts collectively; nobody needs anymore £20 forgettable tat!
5. Seasonable work
There are plenty of businesses who are particularly busy around Christmas, why not get out and enjoy the Christmas cheer and earn some additional pounds. Restaurants, bars, supermarkets and delivery companies are all busier this time of year, and looking for seasonal workers.
If you fancy doing some freelance work to generate a bit of extra income this time of year, put your services forward through Fiverr.
6. Have a pre-loved Christmas
Consider a pre-owned gift list with your friends and family. All gifts must be from eBay, Facebook marketplace or charity shops. It makes the job more interesting, fun and will cut your spending in half.
7. Go the homemade route
If the pre-owned option is not your style, how about all gifting must be homemade? Jumpers, cardigans, cakes, jams, wine and cards, the list is extensive!
8. Use a Christmas Jar
Do you find Christmas too tricky to save for? Why not get yourself a Christmas Jar! It’s simple to run, you place the jar in the family area where you all generally get ready to leave the house, this may be your kitchen or your hallway and before you leave the house, you place into the jar all of your loose change, and this go’s for all the family – you’ll be surprised how far your loose change can go at Christmas!
9. Take advantage of PTO
What’s PTO you may ask? Paid Time Off – We all get some holiday around the Christmas period, so take advantage of those extra hours and rethink your PTO. With Christmas shoppers out in hordes, office parties filling the restaurants and bars, there are seasonal jobs abound. That means you have the chance to turn your paid time off into a paid temporary opportunity.
It doesn’t have to be a forever thing. But it’s a great way to boost your income and pad-out that holiday budget – it also stops you spending so much too. The national living wage is £8.21 per hour so these additional hours can certainly help, cover the additional cost and you can enjoy the Christmas carols whilst you work!
Some stores are known for their employee discount program too, which can help cut the costs of Christmas gifts. Try and get a Christmas position at a store you normally shop at to make your money go even further in your holiday budget.
10. Watch the sales
To help your Christmas budget stretch that much further, don’t get caught up with the festive excitement, shop with a list and stick to it. Shopping price comparison sites such as Idealo offer a great way to see who’s selling what for the best price, I prefer to use these sites with my list, than impulse sales spending!
11. Focus on making memories
Remember what Christmas is about and don’t go overboard with the gifts. Your children won’t remember everything under the tree when they grow up, but they will remember the time you spent together, the games and laughs you had and the traditions your family held and the memories you made.
It’s a great time for you to remind them no matter how tough you have it, there are always reasons to be grateful and there are many who are less fortunate at this time of year.
12. Shop around for cheap decorations
Making your home festive, is a big part of Christmas, but make sure you shop around for all the discounted decorations, wrapping paper and accessories.
13. Become a house or pet sitter
Many people travel during the Christmas period and they want to make sure their homes and pets receive the same loving care while they’re away, so if you love animals this is ideal. Set up a profile on websites like House Sitters UK or Trusted House Sitter. Sitting in a new house or hosting a dog or cat during Christmas can be profitable and fun.
14. Give a gift for each month of the year
I read this one in a newsletter and love it. Why not make a series of gifts for the recipient to open throughout the year, the gifts don’t need to be expensive, but thoughtful, with a note on each gift explaining what you did.
January could be a calendar, inside take the time to put into the calendar everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries. February could be chocolates for Valentine’s Day. March could be Mother’s Day and a baby picture with your children, with a note of everything you remember of the day they were born. One of the summer months could be children’s’ play bubbles to go out in the sun and have some fun! Then you put all 12 boxes into one large box. This way they have a place to keep the boxes until they are opened!
15. Wise shopping
Before you start your Christmas shopping, before you do anything, make a list! List all the names of the people you want to buy for, write next to their name the gift and the price you expect to pay. Add these up and then search the internet for the best deals. It’s easy to think you’ve found the best price, but wait have you really searched? Try idealo, it’s a little site that searches the internet for you, to get the best deal.
16. Get paid for what you buy
Remember the cashback sites, I discuss these in The Money Plan, both www.TopCashBack.co.uk and www.QuidCo.co.uk offer you cash back on certain purchases, it’s definitely worth a search, or to make your future shopping life easier remember to download the internet browser link they offer.
17. Remember your membership
I run a small company and I meet with many employees who work for larger companies, it always surprises me how many people do not take advantage of their employee benefits package. For myself, my institute – The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) provides me with a MyCISI web portal where I can get discounts on anything from travel to Apple products. Before you make your purchase check out what’s available to you.
18. Start a Christmas savings account
Allocate a standing order payment from your Bills Account to a separate Christmas account each month, to save regularly for your Christmas expense next year.
19. Last post
The cost of Christmas cards and postage have both risen over the years, so if you are keen to send Christmas cards make sure you send them second class and ensure you send them by 18th December so that make it in time for Christmas.
20. Set a holiday spending goal
Father Christmas makes a list and checks it twice, and you should do the same thing with your Christmas budget! The best way to make sure you don’t go overboard this Christmas is to make your budget and stick to it. That way you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend on gifts for family and friends, parties, Christmas decorations, and everything in between!
Once you have your Christmas budget ready to go, start trying some of these ways to make some extra cash or cut cost corners to save money for Christmas. You’ll be amazed at how a few small, intentional changes can impact your holiday budget with tidings of great joy!
Is your Christmas budget all set? Great! Now it’s time to start thinking of that Christmas list—and we want to help out! Why not consider The Money Plan as a thoughtful gift to help your loved ones organised the finances and reduce their financial stress and worries in 2020, no matter where they are with their money goals. Give the gift of lasting life change this Christmas.