Though some of us may not mention the “C” word until as late in the year as possible, it is something that is on everyone’s mind at some point…Christmas. In MABS, we begin planning and budgeting for Christmas as early as possible and we want you to BOSS Christmas with MABS.
If you’re not ready to start planning, let us get the ball rolling for you. Here are 5 quick tips that can help to make Christmas more affordable.
Our research shows that Christmas is usually a time of anxiety and financial stress for a lot of people, and this year is no different. Discussing and planning for Christmas early could help to reduce this potential financial strain. Planning ahead can also make Christmas 2022 a more stress-free time to enjoy with family and friends.
Haven’t made a plan? Start one now – it is never too late to put a plan in place and by the end of this blog, you’ll know what to put in your plan.
Read on for 5 tips and advice on how to make the most of the festive season.
- Make a list of what you need to buy for Christmas and use this to create a Christmas budget. Divide the list into 5 categories.
- Unexpected last-minute expenses
- Prioritise – Add up all the items on the list. Is it bigger than you expected? If so, look at each individual item again to see how you can reduce the cost. What could you cut from the list? Work your way through, numbering items in order of importance. It’s important to be honest with yourself. It is better that you limit your spending to the most important things on your list. This will help to remove or reduce any stress due to over-spending.
If you feel you must borrow to cover the cost or are hit with unexpected costs elsewhere and need to move money around, read our page on before you borrow to ensure it’s the right move.
- Research your options – Where can you buy these items and how much do they cost? Check online and in stores for the best price. Remember, some of these items might be part of Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. Sign up to newsletters for websites where you can get the gifts, you may get a discount for signing up or notified when the gifts you need are on special offer. A word of warning here. Marketing teams are very good at making a deal look too good to be true. Be mindful of this and before you buy ask yourself 3 things:
- If I buy this item, will it mean to take something off my list and make a saving?
- Do I really need it?
- Am I buying this outside the EU? If so, will I have to pay extra customs or VAT?
- Suggest a ‘Secret Santa’ to family and friends or use your hobbies and interests to make homemade decorations, gifts and baked goods. Some families that do a Secret Santa between couples and get a voucher for a local restaurant or similar. Doing this means that you’re supporting local business and gives the couple a night out too, which they’ll remember!
Talk to friends and relatives about not exchanging gifts or setting spending limits or spending time together instead. This can help as you may not be the only one struggling with the costs of purchasing gifts for everyone. As children get older, the desired gifts can become more expensive, so talk to family and friends about maybe grouping together to get one more expensive gift from family. Discuss with parents about giving money to be put towards a day out or family activity.
- Covering the Costs – If you have been able to put aside some money during the year to meet the cost of Christmas, will it be enough to cover the costs you have planned for, or do you need to save a bit more over the coming weeks? If you haven’t been able to save money, there is still time to put a plan in place. As of today (Wednesday 26th Oct) there are 9 weeks and 3 days left, work out how many paychecks you have between now and then and divide your budget by that to see how much you’ll need. Only include income that you are 100% sure you will get before the Christmas holiday. For example, overtime and bonuses would be great to supplement the cost of Christmas, but not guaranteed.
Make memories. Get the kids involved and make learning fun. Instead of spending money on store-bought cards, spend a day or two over a weekend making Christmas cards with the kids. Get everyone involved and send homemade cards to family and friends.
Planning can mean that Christmas is manageable and enjoyable for everyone, including you. Start planning today by making out a list of what you need to plan for and a spending budget. Planning now will help to reduce financial surprises.
Have you got Christmas planning tips to share? Let us know at @MABSinfo on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
You can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.