Christmas happens every single year and although we are all aware of this, its common knowledge that January is a month where a lot of people struggle financially. This is the reason why I wanted to share some of my top tips on how not to overspend during the Holiday season. I promise you, that although budgeting sounds about as much fun as doing the dishes on Christmas Eve, a little bit of financial planning now, can save you a lot of stress and sleepless nights comes the New Year!
I’m one of those annoying people that start getting excited about Christmas in October, and by the time November comes- I’m all about baking, Christmas music, decorating and since two years back, I’ve even been very organised with my Christmas spendings and gift shopping! I was so thankful for my effort once the holiday season was over and I still had money left over for fun stuff like eating out, cinema and a few things at the sales. Last year I had all my gifts bought and organised in November – so when everyone else had to shop with the masses, queue for hours whilst the Christmas songs ran on repeat ( You know, leave Liberty’s/Bloomingdales just in time to walk into Selfridges/Macy’s and hear the exact same song you ran away from in the first place), desperately trying to find that one particular book that’s been topping lists for the last 2 months ( aka- the book that’s impossible to find because its on everyone’s Christmas lists!) whilst receiving texts from your brother asking you to pick up something for him to give to his new girlfriend that you haven’t even met yet- I had time to sit back with a warm cup of tea, reading “Lean In” whilst patting myself on the back and colouring in a gold star into my notebook…
Here are my top tips for not overspending during the Holiday season, and I promise you that though budgeting sounds about as much fun as doing the dishes on Christmas Eve, a little bit of financial planning now, can save you a lot of stress and sleepless nights comes the New Year!
1. Decide on a total Christmas budget. This should include everything from stocking stuffers, wrapping paper, postage costs, christmas cards, holiday meals out, parties, decorations, Christmas tree and any travel expenses. Be realistic when doing this because you’re only fooling yourself when setting your budget at 1000 Euro when your bank account shows 900.
2. How much can you spend on each person you want to buy/make a gift for? Keep your total budget in mind, set a limit and stick to it.
3. Are you invited to Christmas parties? If so, decide on how much you can put into the gift you bring and plan it so you don’t end up spending 50Euros, when you could be saving half by simply searching online for smart deals! I will do a separate post on gift ideas that won’t break the bank as we get closer to Christmas.
4. Don’t leave the gift-shopping to the last minute. Take advantage of online deals and be sure to get it delivered in time, browse for options and have a list ready in time for cyber Monday (December 2nd). If you happen to find the perfect gift for your mother in April whilst browsing the beauty aisles, who cares if its more than 7 months until Christmas? Buy it then and save it- one less gift to stress over. Something to keep in mind for next year maybe?
5. Sales are just around the corner! We’re all aware by now that once Christmas is over, the beautiful jacket you bought your mother is down 50% and so is the DVD box-set you got your brother, so why not make a voucher for whatever it is you want to give away, and make a day out of going out for the sales and getting the gift together? Maybe even treat whoever you’re with for a cozy lunch together, it will probably still be less expensive than buying the gift alone whilst its full priced.
6. Give away your time and talent! Are you a good cook? Why not give away a beautiful and creative voucher for a home cooked dinner to a friend? Or do you happen to be fluent in French? Swedish? Spanish? Offer a few hours of your time to teach someone the basics! Learning how to say “Voulez vous coucher avec moi?” can be very useful, trust me! Time spent together with people that you love is the best gift you can give to someone, and if you think about it, in a way its also a gift to yourself.
There will be more Christmas-related posts coming up- everything from DIY-Christmas beauty gifts, gift guides for people on a tight budget, ideas on what to get your mother/sister and so on.
I hope this guide will be useful and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions !