CHRISTMAS TIME MEANS LOTS OF PRESENTS AND DECORATIONS. HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY SAVE MONEY THIS CHRISTMAS?
Christmas season is a time of the year that we all look forward to. But the closer we are to the holidays, the more we worry about our finances. We panic and dread meeting with family because we do not want to buy presents. Some people go the extra mile and ask family members and friends not to give them presents due to the fear of them expecting something in return. Christmas should not leave a bad taste in our mouths. We do not have to go into the New year with lots of payments on our credit cards or go in plain broke. So how can we get through Christmas without breaking the bank? How can we make this season a little different and save more? I have come up with some useful tips that may help you.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR FINANCES THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON
A big problem we have with shopping is buying more than we need. Stores have a way of making you buy stuff you do not need. Items are placed strategically to entice you. Before you leave your home, make a list of items you intend to buy and stick to it.
Leave your bank card at home and pay with cash. The interesting thing about paying with cash is, when the money is used up, that is it. You walk out of the store. But with bank cards, you have the option of paying an extra dollar or Euro. And with credit cards, you tell yourself you will pay later. But paying later is still making a payment for a purchase you really can do without.
Christmas sales are not compulsory to take part in. Ask yourself “if this item costs twice as much, would I purchase it?” That should help you sieve through the tons of sale items in stores that will zap your money in no time.
Christmas Decor and Christmas stuff
You do remember the artificial Christmas tree you bought last year right? It is actually reusable. How great is that. Some people prefer a real Christmas tree but I personally prefer Artificial trees because they are easy to set up, less stressful and totally reusable. An investment in a good tree will save you the cost of buying trees for the next ten plus years. Same goes for the ornaments and other Christmas decor around the house. You do not need to get new ones this year. At the end of each Holiday season, pack up everything nicely and store them away. In that way, the next year you will have a lot less to buy.
How about those Christmas lights. You can save up on electricity by switching them off before going to bed or when going out. Your lights do not have to stay on during the entire month of December. Remember that you will still receive bills after the celebration is over.
If at the time of purchasing an item, you can not think of a place around your house that it will fit nicely, reconsider your purchase. We have the habit of “creating space” for junk; all in the name of Christmas. You do not need to clutter your home with unnecessary items.
Christmas sweaters are a way that the stores have managed to grab our attention. With social media showing cute couples, and our favorite bloggers and youtubers advertising all through “vlogmas”, it is so difficult to ignore the urge. Feel free to reuse old Christmas sweaters. The significance of the sweater does not change just because it is a different year.
Buying Christmas presents
Make a list of people you can afford to give presents to this year. Be realistic. Perhaps it would be nice to focus on the kids; they know little to nothing about finances anyway and are very “present focused” at this time of the year.
Ask family members and friends what they would like for Christmas. With you trying to save some money, the last thing you want to do is buy a present that sits in a corner and is never used. Perhaps you can make it a tradition among your family and friends to make Christmas lists. In that way, everyone is aware of what each person would like.
Do not buy a present just because you want to leave the tag on and get some recognition for the most expensive present of the season. Be humble and true to yourself. While you can lie to everyone else in the room, you have yourself and your wallet to live with after the day is over.
We all get it that Christmas dinners should be huge with lots of dishes to choose from. However, it does not hurt to cook just enough. In that way, there is less wasted food. Also if there are leftovers, they can be saved up, refrigerated and eaten in the next days. My family does this at Christmas time. And this is really nice because for the next day or two, I do not need to worry about cooking. We have ready made food which we can heat up and enjoy.
Potluck is a term I only learnt about recently. Although I practice this, I never knew it had a name. Potluck is a communal meal where guests come with their own meal. A way of doing this is, the host makes the main course and family and friends come with desserts and starters. This saves both time and money and you feel less anxious and can enjoy the day just like everyone else. To learn more ways to deal with anxiety around Christmas, do check out my post on managing Christmas anxiety.
Ignore the social media temptation
Besides the ads and constant reminders of what to buy to make your Christmas more Christmasy, social media portrays an image of a perfect holiday which is sometimes unreal. Be grateful for the things you have. If you can not afford an item, accept it. Having material possessions does not promise an amazing Christmas holiday. You have a goal so stick to it. Save your money.
Finally, Christmas is only one day. Everything will return to normal again real soon so do not make irrational decisions that you will regret. Remember that the season is about love, family and Jesus. Things that money can not buy.
Good luck saving.