Aaah, it’s almost time again! We’re only a couple of weeks away until the festive season gets to be our centre of attention once more. And oh, how we’re looking forward to the wonderful time of joy, giving, and celebration.
But we know, that for some of us, it can also be a period when financial stress looms large. Managing your finances effectively during Christmas is crucial to ensure you’re able to enjoy the holiday season without overwhelming debt or financial anxiety. But because that’s easier said than done, we tailored a list of some practical tips to help you navigate your finances during the merriest time of year.
This post was written in collaboration.
Create a detailed Christmas budget – and start saving early
The foundation of all successful financial management, not only during the holidays, is a well-structured budget. So, start by listing all your anticipated Christmas-related expenses, including gifts, decorations, travel, food – and any other special events that you might have planned. By assigning a specific amount to each category, you can be sure to stick to your budget. Of course, you must hold yourself accountable to also stick to it. This will help avoid overspending and unnecessary debt. Ideally, you should start saving for Christmas well in advance – after all, it’s quite predictable that it’ll come around again in a year’s time! Setting aside a small amount from each paycheck throughout the year can help you build a fantastic holiday fund – and whilst some saving opportunities even come with an option to bolster your credit score, having money set aside for the season makes it easier to cover all your expenses without relying on credit cards or loans at all. One big less thing to worry about.
Limit gift expenditures or look at exciting alternatives
Of course, gift-giving is a cherished and beloved Christmas tradition, but arguably it is for most of us also the most significant expense – even if we’re looking to take advantage of sales and discounts. Consider instead alternatives to extravagant gifts – such as lovely and thoughtful homemade presents or engaging in a Secret Santa exchange with family and friends. It also helps to simply reduce the number of gifts purchased. A few or even only one thoughtful and meaningful gift has a way more lasting impact than a dozen unrelated ones. Of course, when children are involved, things always look a little bit different, but the same principle can be used, too. And sometimes, separating a gift to simply have it wrapped in several single smaller gifts, is all it takes. Gifting experiences instead of material items are in this category as well. Think about a voucher for spending time together somewhere nice this year instead, for example!
Focus on what the spirit of Christmas really is about
It’s sometimes easy to lose focus of what Christmas really should be about – spending time with the people we love most. But in our fast-paced and consumerism-orientated world, it can be hard to purposefully step on the breaks and just lean back. We’ve met so many people who dread the festive season due to the financial and mental stress they put themselves under – unable to enjoy the quiet and warm time they create for others. If you’re one of them – just stop for a second! Take a deep breath and think about what it is, that makes the festive season so magical for you. Is it the gifts? Is it the food? The smells? The lights? Or is it the laughter, joy, and cosiness, while sitting together on the couch? Listening to all the cheesy Christmas songs our playlists have to offer? We’re all looking forward to it for different things – but they all can be embraced without the burden or financial worries.