Use Your Budgeting Smarts this Christmas

If your New Year is typically darkened with debt and regrets, then you need to do something about it before Christmas, not after! You don’t have to just spend and spend because everyone else is doing it! It’s time to create – and adhere to – a sensible Christmas budget.

Work out how much you have to spend

This includes everything – the balances on loyalty cards, vouchers that you haven’t used, stamp schemes and your actual salary and savings. Use a budget calculator to see how much you can add to your savings in the run-up to Christmas and then allot definite, non-negotiable amounts to presents, travel, food and drink and sundries.

When you’ve got your list, check it lots

This list is pretty much sacrosanct! You don’t have to get it tattooed on your forehead, but it should be your constant companion throughout December. Everyone’s on it, from your favourite child (ahem…) to the window cleaner and, all told, you should be spending less than your budget so that you have some wiggle room for extras and last-minute guests.

Make sure you have Amazon Prime’s free month

If you haven’t used Amazon Prime before then you’re in luck because they offer a month of free deliveries to newbies! Sign up in early December and then look for gifts on Amazon that are eligible for Prime delivery. If you save a couple of quid with each order, then that’s probably £20.00 or £30.00 in the bag.

Don’t hit Buy Now without looking for a voucher

Every time you go to buy something from your wish-list, see if you can find a discount or a voucher for the retailer. This also applies to physical shops, as you can often print off coupons or vouchers to use at the till. If you get an average of 10% off half of your presents, that’s really not to be sniffed at.

Go fishing for freebies

A really handy trick is to leave your online shopping cart at the checkout and not buy anything. Most online retailers watch out for this and so when they see abandoned carts, they often send emails to the absent shopper, offering free delivery, a complimentary gift, or even a discount. Leave your cart and then wait for the reminder.

Leave some presents until the last minute

You can leave the most readily-available and generic presents until the very last minute, like December 23 and Christmas Eve. Most retailers start slashing prices then, so if you’re on the ball you can bag some bargains. Do not try this with in-demand, big-ticket main presents, though, as you could make yourself very unpopular.

Get going for next Christmas

Seriously. It’s not like you don’t know when next Christmas is going to be, is it? If you spend £400-500 each Christmas, that’s £45.00 or so a month, which is around the same as a mobile bill, so treat this expense in the same way and budget monthly for it. Put at least £20.00 away each month, bump up the points on your loyalty cards and trawl the January sales for presents like won’t have dated by December 2019.

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