It’s about this time of year when the shops start showing the first signs of Christmas on the way – and for many of us, that can mean a familiar sinking feeling as we wonder where we’re going to get the money from to cover all the presents, parties and other costs that the festive season brings. If you face Christmas with a sense of dread rather than excitement, then hopefully these tips will help.
1) Set a budget
It’s a good idea to know how much you can afford, before you start spending. That way you can avoid any nasty surprises when you check your bank balance!
And if the amount isn’t as much as you’d like – it’s better to know this in advance so you can tweak your plans to fit your budget and avoid creating unwanted debt.
2) Start early
Rather than leaving your Christmas savings to the last minute, start putting a little aside each month so that by the time the festive season comes around you already have some money to dip into.
If you’re really organised, you might even buy your gifts throughout the year, which brings the added bonus of being able to avoid all the queues of last-minute shoppers in December!
3) Consider alternatives to paid gifts
Sometimes, the most thoughtful gifts aren’t the expensive ones you buy in shops. Get creative and think about what you can give people that won’t cost you a penny (or at least may cost you less).
Perhaps a night of babysitting or cleaning someone’s home for them?
Do you have any specific talents or skills that you could turn into wonderful presents for people? Maybe you could create a piece of art or some delicious homemade biscuits or jam.
4) Shop around for the best deals
Whether it’s Christmas presents, food, drink or other festive items, prices can differ hugely so make sure you do your research to get the best deals available. Keep an eye out for special offers – lots of shops have them in the lead up to Christmas.
5) Make use of charity shops
Try browsing your local charity shops. They can be a wonderful place to find beautiful and unusual presents, Christmas party clothes and even decorations and tableware.
As well as saving money, you’ll be supporting a good cause – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Lastly, if you’d like more ideas on how to get ready for Christmas this year then do come and join our Facebook group, Master Your Money and Your Mental Health. It’s a great place to swap tips and get some money saving inspiration.
Have you registered with the VRS?
Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for anyone in a financially vulnerable situation. If that’s you, then don’t forget you can register with the Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS). Our service is there to protect and support people during times in their lives when they’re financially vulnerable. By registering, you can let companies who use the VRS know about your circumstances so that they can treat you and your information accordingly.