It’s that time of year again: there are less than 6 weeks to go until Christmas and more and more people are starting to spend on the gifts they’ll give to friends and family members.
It’s also the time when some will be busily making homemade gifts that won’t cost as much money. Many would say the festive season has become a huge commercial exercise to bring in money. They’d be right. Certainly, if you’ve been saving and investing hard all year this is the one time when you might be tempted to put your own investment plans to the side. You’d do so in the spirit of generosity of course, but that generosity leads many people to start the New Year in debt.
If you don’t want this to include you, it’s time to consider how to create a memorable Christmas without going into debt at the same time.
Can you trim down your food spending?
In most cases the answer will be yes. Even if you’re catering for a large number of guests on Christmas Day you can still take steps to reduce the spread you lay on. Most people buy too much over the festive period and a lot of things are thrown away. Pre-plan as much as you can and look for deals to keep costs down.
Can you trim down the amount you spend on gifts?
Again the answer is usually yes. You can set budgets with everyone you buy gifts for, or alternatively consider the homemade gift route. Some people shy away from this but there are great gifts that are highly personal and don’t cost much either.
If you can knit, opt for scarves and hats. If you are good in the kitchen, homemade mince pies, Yule logs and other treats go down a storm. Either that or look out for some pretty jars and layer up some seasonal recipes in them, complete with instructions for the recipe attached. Another great idea is a hamper or basket you create yourself. Hampers are great gifts and they’re a lot cheaper (and more personal) to put together yourself.
Planning your budget, your time and your list of things to do will ensure you spend less. No doubt you set investment goals earlier in the year; they’ll probably still include putting money away in December. If this is the case don’t be tempted to fail at this late stage. Instead, make sure you know what your income will be between now and Christmas and work with that – once you have taken all your deductions off of course.
Even if you haven’t even started to think about the festive season yet, you still have several weeks to make the most of saving money and still planning a great Christmas. Many people opt to go down the homemade gift route every year once they’ve tried it once. It has a tendency to get really popular among others too – and since many of us are on tight budgets it could be the best idea yet.