Christmas time – a time for giving. But many of us take this to the extreme, buying presents for people who don’t need them, purchasing unfeasible amounts of food for our family and friends, and altogether spending way too much.
Figures show that by January, one in eight Brits will be in debt thanks to the Christmas period – with the average person spending almost £500 for Christmas day alone.
Not everybody has a lot of money either. You could be on benefits, have a low income job, or be retired with a low value annuity or a small pension drawdown plan. You may simply feel like your wage won’t cover the Christmas you feel you need.
But as the Grinch surmised:
With these 3 tips, you can help yourself have a financially-stress free Christmas.
A sure-fire way to get into financial difficulty is to rely on your entire December wage to pay for your Christmas expenditure. By splitting it up over 2 or 3 months, not only are you easing the financial burden for yourself, you’ll also probably save money on things such as decorations, alcohol and food (just make sure the use by date runs through 25th December).
Plan extremely early, and you can pick up some essentials for next year’s Christmas in the January sales – at rock bottom prices!
Set a Budget
Plan out exactly what you need to buy and the expected costs as part of your monthly budget. With the aid of the internet you can work out exact costs, shopping around for the best deals, before tallying this up against what you can realistically afford. If there’s more than you can afford, it’s time to start taking non-essentials off the list.
The same goes for buying presents; speak with your significant other, or those who you buy gifts for and ask what they can realistically afford, and what you can realistically afford.
Don’t Buy Gifts
Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert has long campaigned against the trend of unnecessary gift-giving. And while the thoughts of not giving (never mind receiving) gifts sounds absurd to most, the idea does have some merit.
Often, we’ll buy for the same people every single year – work colleagues, friends, and family members – purely out of habit and tradition. The fact is, if you’re struggling with the costs of Christmas, others close to you may be too – and not talking about it!
Instead, speak with them about setting a budget as mentioned before – or, ask them if a gift exchange is really necessary this year. Most of the time, these aren’t necessarily gifts we want, never mind things we actually need.
Having an open and honest conversation about this can often help relieve your own financial stress, as well as that of your loved ones.
This article was written with the help of Ryan Smith, who writes on behalf of My Retirement Options – helping those approaching retirement make decisions about their pensions, with guidance on annuities and pension drawdown.