Everyone’s excited to get their Christmas bonus. Why wouldn’t they, considering that the holiday season brings forth so many expenses. It isn’t just about spending all your money on yourself; it’s also about spending for other people as well, meaning you’ll have twice as much spending to do, and it just keeps on adding up depending on the number of people you’d have to buy gifts for. And it doesn’t stop there, as you would also have to prepare for the Christmas Eve dinner. At the rate of your spending, you may have nothing left by New Year, or worst, be in debt at such time. With these in mind, we prepared 10 Christmas money budgeting tips to make sure that you wouldn’t have to experience any money concern during and after the Yuletide season:
1. Save up.
Probably one of the most basic, yet, commonly ignored advice. Throughout the year, you are given an opportunity to save for future needs; hence, from January to November, you are given about 11 months to save. Learn to keep aside a few amounts each month leading up to Christmas, and only then would you have enough to spend for the whole December. The best thing about this is, the more money you save each month, the higher the chances of having more left even after New Year’s celebration.
2. Too many lights? Cut down the decorations.
Yes, all occasions need the appropriate décor, the same with having confetti in your birthday and having pumpkins on your doorstep for Halloween. However, it isn’t really about the appearance, but more on the amount of your decorations. If you have an average or small sized home, reduce the amount of Christmas lights. A few hanging over your window, shaped into a Christmas tree, is enough. Less décor, less maintenance, fewer expenses.
3. Collect those coupons.
Usually, supermarkets hand out discount booklets a few weeks before Christmas. Take advantage of this and try to look for more vouchers online. You may spend a few for print outs, but the amount you’ll save from the deductions in the retail prices is nothing compared to the big savings you will acquire from the discounts in groceries and shopping.
4. Pay your bills immediately.
This may sound like a conflicting statement against the purpose of this list; however, remember that bills tend to stack up with penalties when left unpaid over the due date. A much bigger concern occurs when one of your household utility gets disconnected due to lack of payment; the addition of the reconnection fee to the already high amount of penalty fee may leave you with little to no amount left. So be aware of your due dates and pay on time.
5. Make your own gifts.
As they say, it’s the thought that counts. Usually, hand-crafted presents are more valuable and less expensive than ready-made ones. Perhaps a hand-knitted scarf will do the trick, or even a paper Mache display animal for their living room.
6. Learn to say no.
Yes, Christmas is a time for sharing and unconditional giving, however, you are also liable for your own expenses, and giving in to the request of your kids (or other loved ones for that matter) in buying an expensive gadget may put your budget in jeopardy. Remember, sometimes you have to teach your loved ones that love is best expressed by actions, not by branded apparels or high-end cellphones.
7. Let your family know of the true importance of Christmas.
People do not appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. For others, it’s just all about expensive gifts and delicious warm meals, forgetting the fact that it was the time when our Lord was born, and that He sacrificed His own life to save us. Such is the strong message of “it is better to give than to receive.” Motivate, or better yet, initiate for your family to participate in outreach programs during this holiday season. Charity organizations practice the secret Santa program, where participants (without letting the recipients know of their identity) would donate a few second-hand clothes and supplies for the less-fortunate ones. This is hitting two birds with one stone, as you would not only teach your family the true essence of Christmas, but also, you would be able to save big as supplies don’t cost too much in groceries, and you wouldn’t even have to buy them new clothes for second hand apparels would be sufficient for the program.
8. Prepare your Christmas list ahead of time.
This is related to the first tip in this list. Saving up for Christmas is one thing, but knowing what you’re really saving for is another. You’ll also be able to approximate the exact amount and price of the gifts, hence, be able to plan out your gifts without overspending by mistake during the process.
9. Buy in bundles.
Christmas season brings about many promos like buy 1 take 1. Always remember to take advantage of this as well. If you’re planning to make fruit salad or spaghetti for the Christmas Eve dinner, for example, you may be able to encounter the ingredients in a plastic-wrapped basket, all bundled up for a discounted price. This is getting more value for your money, rather than buying things separately, which may cost more.
10. Take note of all your expenditures.
Regardless of what you buy or the services that you avail, pocket the receipt; don’t just throw it away immediately. Add up your expenses and plan out alternatives so that you may avoid paying more than you need to. Avail wisely, save highly.
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