Christmastime – t’is the season to be jolly. But all too often, festive overspending leads to a most unenjoyable New Year financial hangover, with the majority of us unable to pay of Christmas debt before April.
And yet this doesn’t stop us splashing the cash. Recently published research shows that we’ll typically spend nearly two weeks’ worth of wages on Christmas – that’s £727 on average on presents, preparations and celebrations with work colleagues. A further 8% said they’re planning on spending more.
A study shows that we’re expected to spend a total of around £82billion – that’s £2billion more than last year and, of which £33.3billion is expected to be spent on gifts, with kids receiving the bulk of the cash and a staggering £2billion spent on gifts that are unwanted or not liked.
Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your festive finances and keep control of Christmas costs. This starts with working out a careful budget to calculate exactly what you can, and cannot, afford.
It’s a simple step – one that forms the basis of all of our branch-based customer meetings – but it really shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are our other top tips to eliminating that New Year financial hangover.
Make a list and stick to it
Don’t plan the “perfect Christmas” and then work out how to pay for it. Instead, work out what you can afford and then ask yourself what is the best Christmas I can have with the money I have and take it from there. Remember, Christmas is just one day. Don’t spoil 2020 for the sake of seasonal splurges. It’s just not worth it. Try to keep present buying to a minimum When we’re spending an average of over £700 on loved ones this Christmas, a family Secret Santa is a brilliant way to cut costs whilst maxing out festive fun – whether that’s with family, friends or work colleagues. Don’t forget that most of us want joy and entertainment, not expensive gifts.
Give personal gift cheques
Presents don’t have to mean mega money. One great and easy idea to avoid overbudgeting is to give personal gift cheques. Download them here and sign yourself up to babysit, cook a meal, babysit or walk the dog for a week. It really could be anything. And, what a wonderfully thoughtful and personal gift it would be!
Make the most of them being little and save on the spends
Little ones really don’t understand or value the cost of presents. They don’t care if the gift you buy them costs £5 or £500. As the saying goes, they prefer the box to the present. But rest assured, as they get older, they certainly will do. You’re better off saving the cash while you can.
Shop around for the tastiest deals
Shop around and take advantage of supermarket offers and ‘price wars’ in the run up to Christmas. There are some super savings to be had, whether that’s on prosecco or festive food.
And be a yellow sticker hunter. Stores often make final reductions on food that’s about to go out of date just before they close. By nipping in just before doors shut, you can bag yourself some real bargains – ranging from a few pence off to more than 90%. Just check what can and can’t be frozen and again plan ahead for when you need it.
The best things in life are free
Christmas family fun really doesn’t have to be costly. Whether that’s driving around in the dark to look at the most lavish local lights and illuminations or just digging in to watch a seasonal movie together, you don’t have to splash a great deal of cash to put a smile of everyone’s faces. The true meaning of Christmas is about spending special time with loved ones – we shouldn’t lose sight of that.
If you need debt help, don’t wait until January
Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys a merry Christmas. If you’re worried, stressing over or, even worse, ignoring financial problems, the best thing to do is to ask for advice now. The longer you leave it, the worse it gets. We work with all 66,000 of our customers, who we meet face-to-face, to take the time to understand their needs and financial situation on a human, personal level. We’re never judgemental and always confidential. This means we’re well placed to help support them back onto their financial feet and back into mainstream lending.