Christmas presents interesting challenges and opportunities for families as they prepare for the holiday as we all know. The recession has caused everyone to be more cost-conscious and many families are wondering how to still celebrate the holiday with all the pomp and circumstance while not running credit card debt or straining budgets. The good news is that it is possible to save money this Christmas. All it takes is imagination, preparation, and research for services and activities that will help make the season bright for you and your children this Christmas whilst spending less.
As we all know when it’s Christmas time, we tend to spend more because we receive bonuses, gifts, and other incentives. If you want to save money this Christmas, spend only on the money that you have but not more. Today I’ve teamed up with Alamo Associates – a company which prioritizes what clients need by offering a single monthly payment with low interest rates – with these tips on how to save money this Christmas season.
Alamo Associates say prepare – and prepare early
One of the things that a lot of parents realise is that the days of waiting until the last minute and assuming you will have the money and time to do everything before Christmas eve are long gone.
It is simply too unrealistic. Instead, sit down with your spouse and or relatives and create a plan for the holidays. Estimate how much everything will cost. Try to think about where an activity or home-cooked meal might replace more expensive options. You will probably find yourself being able to do even more than what you would do during a more prosperous Christmas.
Don’t spend too much eating out
Avoid the temptation of eating out because it will only add another expense. If you’re planning on heading into town to do some Christmas shopping, eat first heading out.
Use an old Christmas tree
…if it’s still good once you heave it out of the attic then clean up your old Christmas tree and think of a new design using old materials. Be creative and utilize only what’s available. There are some great roundups of upcycled Christmas decorations out there for inspiration on Pinterest.
Apply the 80-20 rule
Remember, 80% should be used for your expenses. The twenty percent should be put on your savings account.
Forget the new outfits
Yes, it’s party season! Be creative and mix and match your old clothes so you look like you have a whole new outfit rather than splashing out on something new.
Physical presence is more important than things
Visit your relatives, your uncles, aunties, and cousins. They would really appreciate it more when you visit them especially this season. Let them feel you are happy seeing them.
Take advantage of special offers
The retail sector has been hit the hardest by the current recession. With holiday shopping being many stores’ last chance at recouping losses with an increase in sales, many stores will be slashing prices on items in huge sales.
Another interesting side effect is the revival of layaway. Essentially you purchase an item paying a certain percentage of the cost upfront then paying the rest in installments over a period of 60 days or more. This is great because unlike credit there is no interest and you just have to make sure to have the item fully paid off by the end of the store policy period. This is a great way to save money and focus it directly on the items you need to purchase this holiday.
Skip the mall
Don’t go to your local shopping centre or mall unless it’s absolutely necessary. It might tempt you to buy unnecessarily if you try to window shop! Make yourself busy with other commitments to avoid the temptation of going just to have something to do.
Watch movies at home
Yes, there are lots of exciting Christmas movies out but going to the cinema is expensive these days! Instead, better stay at home and watch a movie on the box or Strictly!
Think about your future
Always think about your future and your goals so that it motivates you to save money and spend wisely.
Buy only what is necessary
Have a list and buy only what it on it and important things. Work to a scale of preference. Set aside those not so useful and focus only on what’s more important.
Manage your children’s expectations
Research what your children want for Christmas before saying yes! For the younger ones, say that Santa has to work overtime this year so he asked you to take care of the wish list this year. To help younger children you can get them to make a picture wish list. This is great for your child if they are 4 to 6 years old.
Get a toy catalog like the one from Smyth’s and have your kid look through it and point to the pictures. You can then cut them out and paste them on a piece of paper as their picture wish list. This is great because they may not know the name of the toy but they might recognize it from commercials. This also gives you an exact idea of how it looks like and where to possibly find it. When we do this I like to tell my daughter to cut out anything that’s £20 or other – which makes it a bit of an educational activity that teaches them about the value of money too!
Christmas season is a time of giving but there’s really no need to spend too much money and regret it come the new year. We hope you found these tips on how to save money this Christmas in association with Alamo Associates useful. Be sure to spend your money wisely, because nobody wants to start the new year regretting their spending choices over the festive period!