5 ways to save for Christmas
Along with good tidings, Christmas brings us so many expenses: parties, travel, decorations, gifts and food. Without a Christmas budget, this can get out of hand. No wonder as 1 in 5 Brits overspend at Christmas and may begin sinking into debt as they enter the new year.
This year then, it is time to set a Christmas budget and savings goal and get started saving for Christmas next year. By establishing a Christmas budget now you will avoid not only the post-Christmas payday loans and credit card hangover, but begin to teach yourself the art of saving, and thus save for alternative goals like the summer holiday too!
These five savings strategies can help you save for Christmas and avoid sinking into additional debt.
1# Set up a Christmas savings account
Have part of your salary direct deposited into separate savings account solely to save for Christmas. Alternatively, if you don’t receive regular weekly or monthly pay, set up a standing order to a savings account.
Don’t get a debit card with your savings account; you’ll find yourself dipping into the account and spending your savings.
2# Make additional money during the Christmas season
Yes, this may seem not an option for many, yet more money coming into your bank account rather than less going out will add some much-needed funds to your Christmas budget.
If you’re employed, check whether there are any additional overtime so you can pull an extra shift. If you’re unemployed why not check whether some retail shops have any seasonal openings to cover the increased shopping that is done over Christmas? Maybe check whether there are call centres that hiring to cover the increase in call volumes during this time of year?
3# Re-examine your budget and expenses
Set a budget and don’t deviate. Think of how many people you must buy for and then look for gifts that fit the budget by checking online retailers and supermarkets for some competitive offers. If you are travelling to meet the family, then book your journey well in advance and save on rail fares.
Do you really need to eat all that food and drink all that alcohol at Christmas? Yes, it is the time to celebrate, but you still need to pay your bills come January, and with 21% of Christmas budgets going on food, this is where obvious savings can be made to your budget and reducing your expenses.
4# Give-up something once a week
Set aside what you would spend on your daily coffee shop coffee or Friday night Chinese take away, or something that could save you hundreds of pounds (like cigarettes, if you can quit). Doing this weekly will mean that your lifestyle will begin to adjust to not having what you initially missed.
Then, the most practical way to recoup this saving is to calculate how much you spend on the item(s) per, and then deposit that amount into your holiday savings account in advance, preferably on a weekly basis!
5# Count Your Pennies
Empty your coat pockets, wallets or purse daily into a change jar. Use collected change to begin your Christmas fund. When you reach a certain amount, then take the savings to your bank savings account and deposit, and begin the process all over again, preferably each month.
To increase your Christmas savings, don’t hand over a penny when the total ends in £0.01. Take the £0.99 and add it to your savings jar. If you make cash withdrawals on a regular basis like every payday or each weekend, then add any leftover money once you have withdrawn to your change collection.
David Bailey-Lauring is a father of three and small business owner from Brighton, UK and regularly writes about fatherhood, personal finance and entrepreneurship.