Mentioning Christmas in September will often get you some funny looks. After all, it IS incredibly early- we haven’t even had Halloween yet! But thinking about Christmas in September doesn’t mean putting your decorations up (like this family did!) or playing your favorite festive album on the way to work each morning. It can simply be a case of planning ahead and getting prepared financially. While Christmas is a lot of fun and a fantastic way to spend time with loved ones, it can also be a huge struggle if you’re working to a budget. Lots of families find themselves in debt in the new year, or just feeling down and upset that they haven’t managed to provide their children with as much as they’d have liked. To get around this, early planning is essential. If you start now, you have plenty of time to spread the cost, get things as you go and come December it won’t be a mad rush to source and buy everything you need. Here are some ideas which will make Christmas easier financially.
Save what you can
Any money you can put away will come in helpful come December. If you have online banking, you could transfer a couple of dollars every week from your main account into a savings account each time you’re paid- it will all add up. You could start a change jar, throwing in any loose change that’s left in your pockets at the end of each day. There are Coinstar machines in most supermarkets which make it easy to change pennies and change into pounds and notes for easier spending. Another good tip is to sell what you no longer need, this raises money while clearing space for new items that will be coming in at Christmas. If you donate your old items to a charity shop, you could be helping another family provide for their children in the process.
Pick up generic presents
Whether it’s stocking fillers for the kids or token gifts for colleagues and neighbors, if you spot something that’s a good deal and would make a great gift then pick it up. Again, it gives you less to buy closer to the time. Bubble bath and bath sets, boxes of chocolates, trinkets and more- these can be bought surprisingly cheaply from discount stores, and supermarkets.
Find deals on decorations
Once the festive season is underway, anything Christmas themed will go up in price. So it can be a good idea to scour bargain stores and places like eBay for decorations now when they’re much lower in price. Think about things like your Christmas table too- glasses, table napkins, place holders and more are all items you can buy ahead of time and put away ready for Christmas dinner.
Start your non- perishable and long life food shopping
Your food and consumables are one of the biggest costs for most families at Christmas. Instead of waiting until December 1st, start grabbing items now. Chocolate, sweets, alcohol, canned goods and and other items can be picked up each week with your normal shopping. Box it up and put it out of sight, and start a stash ready for the festive season. Write a list and tick things off as you go, this prevents you from accidentally buying twice.