There are few greater feelings than spending the holiday season with loved ones and sharing the good times. Gift giving is always great way to show your appreciation, however for those on a tight budget, it can be a bit of a stressful time. So we thought we'd share some of our best budgeting tips for the Christmas season.
As with any budgeting, the first and probably most important step is planning. Have a think about what you will need to do these holidays. Where will you be spending it? Who will you be seeing? Whom are you buying presents for? Are you preparing any food?
Setting everything out on a piece of paper or on your phone is good way of getting an overview of what and who you will be spending on, which means you can then appropriately select where to open up or tighten the budget.
2. Don't wait until the last week
We've all heard this advice before, but how often do we find ourselves rushing to the shopping centers on the last few days before Christmas.
All through December the shops are busy, but nothing compares to the final week. Parking alone is enough of a headache to put you off, let alone the madness inside the stores. So avoid the chaos and get your shopping done early.
3. Withdraw Cash
Before you start your shopping, go to the ATM and withdraw the amounts you wish to spend for the day. Studies have shown that people are prone to spending more when they use debit cards compared to cash. This is often because you don't check your account balance as you Tap and Go on multiple purchases. Having the physical cash in your wallet will help you stay focused on your budget and to not overspend.
4. Shop Around
Once you have found the gift you've been looking for, make sure to have a quick Google search and check that you are getting the best price. Another store could save you 10-20% on a majority of your presents, so be sure to see what the competition has to offer before rushing to the checkout counter.
5. Keep an eye on your budget
Over the weeks, take a look at your initial plan and see how you are tracking with your current spend. Are you above or below where you should be? A plan is no good if you don't follow it so make sure to keep an eye on it.
6. Secret Santa
If you have a particularly big group of family and friends, then a Secret Santa or Kris Kringle could be a great idea. Everyone draws a name out of a hat of another person in the group and has to buy a present just for them and no one else.
That way, everyone can spend a little more on one person and get them a gift that they might really want, rather than everyone getting something small that they might never use.
(Pro tip: You should probably still get something for your Mum and spouse even if you don't draw their name)