Mulled wine from the Christmas market, that gift for your partner, Secret Santa at work, tickets to the New Year party: spending over the festive season really does add up. It’s easy to overspend on all the gifts and celebrations. Here are some tips to help you go easy on your wallet in December.
Savings tips: how to make sure your wallet survives the festive season
It’s nice to treat yourself and your loved ones during the festive season. But how do you make sure you don’t start the New Year with an empty wallet?
How much money will you set aside for Christmas presents?
Tip 1: Where has all the money gone? Keep an eye on the little things as well.
So you’re not left wondering at the end of the year where all the money went during Advent, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on smaller expenses. You’ll find it often isn’t the big ticket items where the money all goes, but lots of little things. Just add together how much money you spend at, say, the mulled wine stand, or how much you spend on new Christmas decorations. It’s pretty astonishing, isn’t it? Of course, going without entirely would be a crying shame. But, for the sake of your own wallet, it’s a good idea to just stop and think whether you really need that umpteenth hot drink or that next impulse buy. And if you really have to buy these things, then try to get that money back elsewhere, for instance by doing without a takeaway coffee, or not eating out for lunch.
Tip 2: How much is enough for who? Draw up a gift budget.
Go over your accounts and work out what your maximum budget for gifts is so you don’t end up in the red. Draw up a gift list where you enter gift ideas and the expected costs that you looked up beforehand. Are you exceeding your budget? If so, try and come up with different ideas, possibly something that isn’t a material gift. But whatever you do, avoid last-minute impulse or panic buying – the costs for these can stack up pretty quickly. Additionally, if possible, try to factor in a little something for yourself as well – just as a small reward for staying in budget this year!
Tip 3: No money for gifts this year either? Start setting aside money for the festive season on a regular basis.
Annoyed that it’s looking like there won’t be enough money in the kitty this year either to get chocolates for your favourite aunt, or the latest game for your nephew? All because you didn’t factor anything in for these presents? If so, in future why not deduct a small sum from your monthly salary and set this aside for gifts and festivities? The best way to do this would be to set up a standing order.
Tip 4: Do you get a 13 monthly salary? In which case, treasure it.
Resist the temptation of putting your 13 monthly salary towards parties and presents. Instead, why not set it aside – especially if you need this money to pay your taxes, or you were planning a bigger purchase. Transfer this money (either partially or fully) to an account you do not make your day-to-day withdrawals from. This will keep your money safe. One thing’s crystal clear: if you start with a financial cushion rather than nothing at all in your account, you can be sure of a merrier Christmas and more peace of mind come the New Year.