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For some of you, six weeks until Christmas will mean you still have loads of time to prepare. The festive season hasn’t even started yet and you won’t think about it for a while. For others Christmas started back in the summer and six weeks will feel like no time at all. Anyone on a strict budget may have a different way of looking at things. Six weeks until Christmas will mean just one more pay cheque, two if you’re lucky, until the big day.
If you have read either of my previous posts about spreading the cost of Christmas you will know that I am determined to enjoy the holiday season fully prepared and without going further into debt. There is still plenty of time for you to get organised this year without having to look at your credit card or panic buy gifts.
Santa has a list and you should too! The best way to get started with your Christmas shopping is to get organised. Make a list of all the gifts, food, drink and other expenses that will arise over the festive season so that you know exactly what you are going to have to pay for. Then add in the detail. What are you gifting each person? How much will you be budgeting for food? Do you need to have a pot ready for nights out?
Specifics really help here. Don’t just right down “computer game” for your nephew. Find out exactly which one you will be buying, where you’ll get it and how much it is. The same goes for food. Instead of writing “Christmas dinner”, list everything you’ll need. Turkey, bacon, potatoes, carrots…you get the gist. The more specific you are the more organised you will be. It will also stop you from throwing unnecessary things into your shopping basket, digital or real, and overspending.
Secret Santa with family
I have spoken about this tip previously but it is one I really believe can help the most. We are doing a secret Santa gift exchange with both sides of our family this year and I have worked out that it will save me roughly £300. That’s huge. For me, that means putting an extra chunk into my debt payments over the festive period instead of watching it disappear. Now that’s a happy holiday!
This might sound like an obvious one, but when we are so busy trying to do everything at once it can be so easy to just opt for the gift we are looking for in the first place we see it. The more organised you are the more time you have to shop around and do some comparison of prices. A quick look on Amazon normally does the trick for me. Remember to check for voucher codes too to see if discounts are available!
Make sure to get cashback
Always remember to make purchases through a cashback site wherever possible. I normally pop onto TopCashBack to check what’s available. Most shops offer between 4% and 10% back, which can make all the difference if you are doing a lot of online shopping. If you click here you can use my referral code to sign up. It won’t cost you anything but I do receive a little bonus. If you choose to use it, thank you!
Keep the cost low
Even something as simple as putting together a hamper of a loved ones favourite things can make a big impact. I definitely recommend starting somewhere like the Poundshop or Homebargains for this kind of thing. For example, a hamper filled with scented candles, chocolates, cosy socks, stationery and a nice bottle of wine would be my dream and you could pull all of those together for £10-15 in an affordable local shop. Planning ahead of time with a list of things your recipient would love will help you to refrain from overspending too.
Make extra money
This is something I talk about a lot on my blog, but I’ll mention it again as it can make such a difference to your bank balance. Making small amounts of extra money in the run up to Christmas, and throughout the year, can add up so quickly and make a real contribution to your spending pot. You might choose to sell things on Ebay that you no longer use or need, clearing space for all of the new gifts that will soon fill your house. Maybe taking surveys would be perfect for you, or could you take some over time at work? Get creative!
Also, remember to check the points you have on supermarket loyalty cards as these could end up covering the cost of your food shop. If you have any store cards check those too, they all add up quickly. Do you have boots advantage points that could get you a lovely toiletry set for your mum for example? If you’re looking for more money making ideas, be sure to check out www.emmadrew.info.
Homemade is always a great option!
You might find that your budget is stretched to it’s limits and there is simply no room left for buying gifts without using a credit card. If you can put you hand to crafts or baking then homemade can be a great alternative. Whether you brew some flavoured drinks, bake someone’s favourite biscuits, make them some chocolate bark or even gift them something from your own garden, there are so many options. Of course, Pinterest is always a great place to look if you’re stuck for ideas!
Please remember that Christmas is not about the amount you spend and it is certainly not about going into debt in order to make others happy. Get started now and you can enjoy a wonderful Christmas without breaking the bank!