Christmas is expensive. The average British consumer actually finds themselves around £400 worse off each December because of Christmas spending. Many of you are probably stressing out about finding that extra bit of cash for Christmas.
First of all, you should try budgeting annually. An annual budget doesn’t take long to draw up and with widespread basic knowledge of how to use Microsoft’s’ spread sheet software Excel, it isn’t hard to do it quickly either. In an annual budget you should include how much you would like to spend at Christmas time; if in doubt, aim for around £450 each year. Divide this amount by 12, to ensure you’re saving for Christmas each year, and deduct it from each month’s budget. For most people, they should be aiming to save £38 from each monthly budget. £38 isn’t very much in the scheme of things, and can easily be saved by swapping a few items in every shop to basic own-brand goods in a supermarket, cutting down on new clothes, or switching your lights off when you’re not using them. This method allows you to save up for Christmas, rather than borrow for it and be forced to pay it back later. It’s an excellent addition to good financial management skills to always plan ahead for big expenditures; and you shouldn’t neglect Christmas.
If you’ve been budgeting all year but you’ve found yourself cash-strapped because of unforeseen circumstances, then there are various opportunities still open to you.
- Research 0% Credit Cards for the festive season, as long as you have a good credit rating and you feel comfortable enough taking on a small amount of personal debt (~£450), then there’s no reason to turn your nose up.
- Consider financing, many products from gadgets to sofas to consoles can be financed to ensure that the cost of Christmas is spread over the entire year, or even two!
- Never be afraid to ask you family for money. Christmas is a time for family, reconciliation and love. You shouldn’t fear asking your parents to help you out for the festive season with promises of paying them back.
This Christmas, make sure you start your budget for next year on Boxing Day to ensure that it’s never a pinch. But failing that, and if it’s too late for you this year, you should really consider 0% Credit Cards, store financing, and your relatives. No one wants to go without at Christmas.