Surviving Christmas On A Budget
Christmas is a time of religious celebration, a time to spend time with your close family, your extended family, your friends and it is a time for rest and enjoyment. Christmas is a time of giving and receiving and there is no rule that says you need to spend a ‘fortune on gifts.’ After all it is supposed to be the ‘thought that counts not the value of the gift. You should not need to arrange a credit card consolidation loan, a debt management plan, a secured homeowner loan, or quick mortgage just to pay for your Christmas celebration.
As we get closer to Christmas we need to have a budget so we know how much we can comfortably afford to spend. As a money saving expert I know that some people will be fortunate and will spend any amount they wish and for the rest of us we will need to have some restrictions in place to prevent us going into debt this Christmas. I don’t believe that just because money is tight that you should just forget about Christmas.
Here are Ten Deadly Sins of Christmas
- Don’t forget Christmas just because you cannot afford it, you need to set a budget and work within that budget.
- Set a limit for how much you will spend on each person you want to buy presents for
- Don’t become emotional about the gifts you want to purchase. Just because you know that the other person will be upset if they don’t receive that special widget. It’s tough if you cannot afford it! You will just have to talk them and explain that you cannot afford it at the moment.
- Shop around for gifts. Search on the internet for the item you are looking for. Why not see if you can buy it off eBay?
- Don’t top up present as you will then spend more than the amount you had set.
- Why not write an IOU and wrap it up as a gift. The thought here is that you may have promised a family member a new leather jacket and you know that in the sales in January the jacket will be greatly reduced by as much as 50%. Big savings here for you!
- Don’t overspend on your children, it is far better to sit down with your older children and explain that money is tight at the moment and you cannot afford the present they wanted. If your children are very young then you will need to explain that Santa Claus has been hit by the Credit Crunch and that this year there may be less presents.
- Don’t overspend on Food this Christmas, a great money saving tip here is to start shopping at Aldi or Lidl as this will save you up to 30% on a normal weeks shopping at Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s. The food from these shops is not of an inferior quality, they are non brand products of equal quality. Another way to look at it is that you can buy up to 30% more food from these stores compared with your normal supermarket. In Germany where these stores originated from there are some 3000 plus Lidl stores and over 4,000 Aldi stores and they control over £48 billion of food sales globally. No small supermarket!
- Ask the people that you wish to buy presents for what they would like rather than buying them something they don’t want. It might just surprise you when they turn around and ask for a really cheap gift.
- Don’t borrow money just to pay for a great Christmas as this money will need to be paid back at a later date and it will cost you a lot more money. I recently heard a well respected money saving expert suggest that people could use an interest free credit card to do their Christmas shopping on and then pay the money back during the following six months. My thoughts here are that we are in this almighty recession due to the overspending we have all made over the past ten years. Be realistic and spend what you can comfortably afford today and don’t go into debt!
Don’t cancel Christmas because you cannot afford it
Finally control yourself, set your budget, don’t overspend, don’t spend emotionally, don’t top up gifts with other gifts, be honest with your family and children, be smart and think about each purchase and yes you will still enjoy the Christmas spirit and the feeling of giving and receiving. A final thought here is that lots of people are in the same position and you are certainly not alone in this. People all over the world have to stop and think about how they can have a great Christmas.
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