Preparing for Christmas

As the end of the year is creeping closer now is likely the best time to start thinking about the costs of the festive period. Granted Christmas and its festivities is still a number of months away but given the costs which are involved with enjoying the festive period, now may just be the ideal time to start thinking about how your finances will be effectively managed. The costs linked to Christmas are for UK households amongst the largest faced on a year basis, with millions of pounds being spent each and every year on food, drink and gifts for our loved ones. At the same time, it would be fair to say that each and every year the costs linked to making the big day fun for all, seems to catch many of us off guard and as such places a lot of UK households in stressful financial positions. Undoubtedly the key to a smooth running Christmas is effective planning and sticking to a pre-determined budget. The use of such actions means that the costs of making Christmas special can be managed effectively and without the need to cause potential financial commitments which later require repayment well into the subsequent year. It’s not just sensible financial planning though that can aid in reducing the stress of the festive period. As detailed on the website Find Me A Gift each year as much as £700 million is spend on unwanted gifts around the world; quite an alarming figure I think we would all agree. So sensible and pre-planned purchases can make a big difference to this busy period also. Today then, let’s look at some tips and guidance for successfully planning for Christmas this coming year and by doing so, set some great foundations to build upon when the time arrives.

With 8 million real Christmas trees being purchased in the UK each year and 25 million Christmas puddings being consumed, it is easy to see how the costs of Christmas quickly add up. As many as 6.8 million new Apple and Android phones will be activated on the big day each and every year and with an average cost of such devices being £261.00 currently, the amount being spent on this one type of gift alone is eye watering. So planning for the cost of Christmas is almost a no-brainer. To plan effectively for this period it is sensible to first consider what is it you will need to spend money on, breaking the known spending into specific areas first and foremost. Examples of this could be Gifts, Food, Decorations and General Celebrations. For each of these specific areas list the purchases related to them, so for example Decorations, the list may include a Christmas tree, a reef for the front door and table decorations; at this point in the exercise there is no need for cost to be considered as that will come in the next stage. After a complete list of requirements for each area of spending has been formulated now is the time to start considering the costs. This therefore means setting a specific budget for each and every purchase. The total of these individual costs is therefore what you expect at this stage to spend on the festive period.

Once you know the total expenses you foresee Christmas to cause, this is the time to start saving and planning. By saving, this not only means putting money aside but also looking around to see where cost reductions could be made. Take for example the total cost for presents. Many of us buy presents for each and every member of our family and do so at great expense. Instead and this one’s for the adults of the family, why not conduct a ‘Secret Santa’ exercise which sees each adult buy one gift and receive one gift in return. This can be fun and exciting as it allows a slightly larger sum of money to be spent, given the reduction of number of gifts which need to be purchased in total and also adds a bit of old fashioned Christmas magic given no one knows who has who! As well as Secret Santa for the adults why not communicate effectively with other family members who have children and establish budgets for spending which are sensible and realistic. Where it is true to say we would all like to buy lots of gifts for everyone we love at Christmas, it is also true that over-spending and causes debts completely goes against the meaning of the festive period so try to avoid it where possible. Applying this logic to each and every area of your Christmas plan will, without doubt allow the opportunity to cut down the overall costs. Combine this with purchase specific spending habits; for example, set out on your shopping mission with an idea for gifts and even ask the receiver what they would like where possible to do so to, will help avoid over-spending. If all of this is applied and savvy shopping takes place for all your Christmas needs, such as taking advantage of online and high street deals, there is every possibility that the festive period can be planned and enjoyed accordingly.   

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Author: Internal Customer Services Agent


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