Christmas can be a seriously tough time for families. We all enjoy a bit of the festive spirit, but the reality is that it can put a real strain on your finances. So many people find themselves sticking their spending on a credit card, and this can have real ramifications for your finances in the new year.
But you can do Christmas on a shoestring. You can go into 2019 without the shackles of debt, and you can do it without compromising on the fun. It’s simply about implementing some tips that will help you to make your money go further.
Here’s my best advice for Christmas on a shoestring…
Work out exactly how much you can afford to spend
Don’t sit down and think about what you need to have the perfect Christmas. Do things the other way around, and set a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too much. And then, work out what you can afford within that budget.
This will really keep your spending under control, and it’ll encourage you to think creatively about your cash. At the end of the day, Christmas is just one day out of the year. It’s not worth putting yourself in a position whereby you’ll paying for it well into the future.
Take a stand against unnecessary present buying
Personal finance expert Martin Lewis has been running an excellent campaign for almost a decade that’s dedicated to encouraging people to free themselves from the shackles of unnecessary present buying.
The thing is, many are buying gifts out of a sense of obligation, and it’s having a lasting impact on our purses. It can be hard to have the ‘let’s not do gifts this year’ conversation with loved ones, but it’s likely that everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.
Consider how starting a side hustle could ease the pressure
If you’d like to have a bit more spending money this Christmas, then now is a fantastic time to think about starting a side hustle. You could sell your unwanted items on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, or you could offer your services as a freelancer, or you could give matched betting a try.
There are so many different options out there, and it’s all about finding something that suits your skills and is going to maintain your interest. The internet has opened up so many exciting opportunities, and there are tons of legitimate ways to boost your earning power.
Get cashback on all your purchases
Are you familiar with cashback sites? Places like TopCashback will give you a percentage back on the things you buy, which puts a bit of extra money back in your own pocket. If you’re going to be spending, then you might as well do it wisely.
Before you make a single purchase, check out the cashback offers that are available. Of course, it’s really important here that you remember that you do have to spend to get the money back – so don’t try to justify cashback as an excuse for spending more!
Avoid premium brands in the supermarket
Lots of us decide that because it’s the festive season, we need to have the very best. And so we fill our supermarket trollies with all the premium brands. If you’re committed to having Christmas on a shoestring, this has to stop!
Remember that often, you’re just paying for fancier packaging. Make a commitment to downgrade to the supermarket’s own brand, or even the value range. In lots of cases, no one will notice any difference.
Lists, lists, and more lists!
When it comes to Christmas on a shoestring, planning and organisation need to become your very best friends. It’s time to whip out a notepad and get crystal clear on everything you need, and the likely cost implications. Your lists should cover gifts, food, and decorations.
When you’re out doing your shopping, ruthlessly stick to your list. If it’s not on there, you don’t need it and it shouldn’t be in your trolley. This kind of approach stops impulse buying, and makes sure that you don’t end up with a ton of stuff you don’t really want or need.