7. Spread It Out.
Shop at one major place each fortnight. Buy the non-perishables this fortnight; and the drinks the next fortnight. The following one the kids’ gifts; the following one, your gift… or your husband’s family’s gifts; and so each subsequent pay, you can tick a part of your plan off. The closer to Christmas you get, the more perishable the items can be. This can work in with your baking, crafting and posting plans as well.
8. Utilise Gift Cards.
Buy gift cards each pay. Perhaps you have time off closer to Christmas so you can do the shopping then with the money you’ve already spent, or you could give gift cards instead and use the time you’d otherwise spend shopping and wrapping, to cherish your family. Look into discounts for gift cards! Your local automobile association may have discounted vouchers for members, or the Entertainment Book has interesting offers to consider. Spend the money you were already going to spend, in a smarter way!
9. Rewards Points.
Check with your rewards programs to see if you could cash in some of the points for gift cards, goods or services. A car service may be practical but it would make a fantastic present.
10. Make some extra cash.
If this isn’t going to cover your planned expenses, don’t bury your head in the stack of bills but take a moment this week to look into what you can do for extra cash or get the best rates for the extra cash if you are going to use credit (and work out how long it’s going to take you into next year to pay off the charged expenses). Extra shifts, extra jobs, cleaning out the spare room and having a garage sale now that the weather is nicer, do some surveys or online focus groups, deliver catalogues, extra babysitting – whatever you can to make extra cash that goes specifically towards Christmas.
Christmas comes but once a year so it’s a great time to celebrate and enjoy your family, for all their craziness and eccentricities. Take some of the stress out of it all and make a budget that you can keep to, a plan to keep to that budget and learn the difference between what you think you’ll spend and what you will end up spending.
Next year, let’s plan ahead based on this year’s experiences! Keep a notebook of your planning and your spending this year and use it for the future. There are 26 fortnights in a full year, which is more than three times as many as you currently have. Pick your target – either three times as much saved, or saved in less time! Get an interest-bearing account and set aside money to steal a march on Christmas 2016.
What’s your plan for Christmas this year? Are you a bit of a Grinch or do you love Christmas? Do you bake and craft or are you a shop-and-ship kind of celebrator?