With gifts to buy, parties to attend and no shortage of in-store promotions and sales, the silly season can certainly leave your bank account feeling worse for wear. All hope isn’t lost, though! A few clever tips and tricks and a touch of planning can leave you in good stead to avoid the dreaded February financial hangover.
Make your expenses more predictable
Seasonal spending can certainly make a mark on your bank account if you’re not careful. Taking the time to investigate whether you can convert quarterly or annual bills to monthly payments can make it easier to budget not only for the festive season but all year round. Not only does this help you to live within your means, but ensures that you don’t face any unwanted financial surprises.
Draw up a monthly budget
Ahead of the Christmas period, it’s important to factor any additional spending into your monthly budget. Try and save a little more where you can in the lead up to Christmas by cooking at home, buying fewer unnecessary items and going out less. Buying gifts and essentials, such as wrapping paper and cards, ahead of time can also reduce the financial sting when the end of the year rolls around.
Don’t rely on your credit cards
Although your credit card might be your go-to for unplanned expenses at the tail end of the year, some other financial products with lower interest rates may actually be better suited to your needs. A personal loan may help you consolidate your debt at a lower interest rate if you find yourself paying off several credit cards or have used all your available 0% balance transfer offers.
Avoid any unnecessary spending
Gifts are easily one of the biggest expenses during the festive season. If you find yourself spending more than your budget can handle, a few easy strategies can help to limit your spending this silly season. Consider agreeing on a budget for presents with each person in your family to ensure you don’t spend more than planned. Working with a budget can certainly make you more creative too!
If your family or friend group is large, choosing the Secret Santa approach to gifting (each person buys for just one other person) can be a great way to save money. Draw names out of a hat or use one of the many free name draw sites online to decide who you’ll be buying for.
If you’re spending more time at home over the Christmas and New Year period, make the effort to reduce your energy and water consumption. Simple actions, such as turning off lights and fans when not in use, can add up in the long run, leaving you with more money to spend elsewhere.
Change your habits ahead of time
Making a little effort to get into better spending habits a few months ahead of the silly season can do wonders for your budget. Simple things like taking lunch to work or making tea and coffee at work instead of buying coffee can easily save you a few hundred dollars a month.
Simple Christmas saving tips
Follow these simple Christmas saving tips to ensure your silly season spending stays under control:
- Make a list and be sure to check it twice. Before you head to the supermarket for your big Christmas grocery shop, write out a list of all the items that you need. Carrying a list with you as you make your way around the supermarket will help avoid impulse purchases and doubling up on items you already have at home.
- Resist seasonal sales. You’ll find plenty of limited-time sales and promotions running throughout the silly season. Although it can take some serious willpower, try to only buy the items that you actually need.
- Reconsider your subscriptions. Automatically debited subscriptions, such as gym memberships and streaming services can eat away at your bank balance without you even noticing. Take some time to think about all your current subscriptions and if there are any you can do without.
- Don’t rush into any big purchases. Before you buy any expensive items, take a day or two to figure out if it’s something you really need or not.
- Get crafty. Spending some time in the kitchen or trying your hand at DIY is a great way to make fantastic gifts without blowing the budget. Have a go at making your own Christmas cards, baking shortbread or making something special by hand.