Christmas is the time of year for spending. People can get carried away with the good festive feeling and spend way above their means. Many of us will build up a considerable amount of debt during this festive period in order to give loved ones the prefect gift. The pleasure of giving and enjoying Christmas often overcomes concerns about getting into Christmas debt. After the bells have rang out for New Year and the Christmas tree comes down, bills hit the doormat, and suddenly there’s an impending feeling of doom in the form of big debts that need paying off.
Thankfully, there are ways of getting around the financial turmoil that many of us suffer from every January. Here are some top tips for reducing your spending next Christmas.
Shop Ahead of the Rush
Prices can be at an all-time high at Christmas, so look to buy presents earlier in the year and take advantage of sales, discounts and online specials. Shopping earlier in the year also allows you to avoid the dreaded crowds of other shoppers that fill our high streets every Christmas.
Become a Coupon King (Or Queen)
A little dedication will allow shoppers to collect certain coupons that give excellent value for their money. This will help the shopper to buy that expensive present that someone’s always wanted – for a lot less. Online companies like Wowcher and ItIsOn offer great deals all year round, but are definitely worth looking at as Christmas approaches.
Use Gift Cards as Presents
If the total Christmas budget is worked out based on what’s actually affordable, cash limits can be set for each person to stay within their budget. With a little self-discipline, the budget won’t be broken this way. Buying gift vouchers from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify will allow you to effectively budget and can give the recipient a choice to get something they actually want.
Have a Small Contingency Fund
Christmas is a time for fun and sometimes that means doing impromptu things like going out on a whim or shopping on impulse. Saving a little each month during the year towards a contingency fund means that these little luxuries can be afforded without tipping a reveler into the red.
Shop at Discount Stores, Bric-A-Brac, Thrift and Charity Shops
Don’t be snobbish about these establishments as it’s possible to pick up some real bargains. The items sold can be high quality, diverse and interesting, just set aside enough time and patience for the task. High street charity shop chains such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation are frequently inundated with donations from people clearing out in the lead up to Christmas. This means that there will be more bargains in stock now than at any other time of year, with the added feeling of satisfaction that the money you pay will go towards a good cause.
Get a Low Interest Credit Card
There are many great deals to be had on today’s credit card market. They’re a great way to save during the Christmas season with offers such as store discounts, cash back, air miles and more, all to save cash. Store cash back credit cards have some fabulous offers attached to them that can save you up to 10% off your total purchase. When you combine these discount offers with store sales, you can double and triple your savings!
It’s important to make sure, though, that what goes on a credit card can be paid off in full, quickly. Lower interest cards don’t penalize spenders quite so heavily for carrying forward their balance. Other options available from banks include overdrafts and small loans with a low rate of interest. These can be ideal for securing finance over the festive period. However, always be sure to undertake some research first before taking out any sort of loan.
So, don’t feel blue now that Christmas is over and the financial pit of 2016 looms large. It’s possible for everyone to manage their Christmas spending for a stress-free year to come just by following one or more of the tips mentioned above to turn a situation of debt around and stop overspending in its tracks.
The important thing is to remember that saving, spending and shopping habits must change for the financial cloud to lift, revealing blue skies once again.