Planning ahead for the festive season

We are fast approaching the festive period and money is in our minds as we try and find the perfect gift for our loved ones, buy all the extras such as greeting cards and plan festive parties but you don’t have to break the bank to have a brilliant Christmas. We have come up with a host of money saving tips to help you balance the books this festive season.

Plan early for Christmas: Be realistic, keep within your budget. Have a set idea on how much you are going to spend on each person. Manage expectations as to what you can afford.

Don’t forget the everyday bills: Remember that you still need to pay your rent, utility bills, grocery bills and any other existing debts and the consequences can be severe if they are not paid. Even though it’s Christmas, get your priorities right.

Keep things simple: Don’t be pressurised to buying what you can’t afford.

Shop around: Try as many different places as possible to find the best price. Buy what you want and not what other people say you need. Be wary of extended warranties; the cost of a repair could be less than the cost of the warranty.

Be organised: Start saving early; avoid taking out loans and borrowing money. It resolves the immediate problem but causes a headache in the future when you have to pay it back.

Make homemade greetings cards and wrapping paper: Save loads on Christmas by making them yourself. They can be personalised for a special touch, and it also gives you a fun way to spend some quality time with your children. The website Making Greeting Cards is devoted to this, loaded with design ideas and a whole list of tools and supplies that you can pick up from stores like Staples.

Ready, steady, cook: Stop buying fast food and ready-made meals: Buying ingredients and cooking yourself will save money in the long term, and it is much healthier. Making meals from scratch can be a lot easier than you think, and you can get the kids involved and helping too. There are loads of easy, healthy and inexpensive recipes to be found online, such as Tesco Real Food and Sainsbury’s family recipes.

Buy all seasonal products after the Christmas for the following year: While you’re elbowing your way through the January sales, you should also pick up wrapping paper and anything else you might need for the next Christmas as it will often be less than half the price. The same goes for pretty much any holiday event.

Recycle old greeting cards: Remember that Christmas card with the really cute penguin on it? Why not cut him out and make him into a gift tag? Instead of throwing cards away or letting them sit at the bottom of some drawer, you may as well put them to use, and save the money you would have spent on packs of tags.

Start planning and saving for next Christmas: Once Christmas is over, it’s worth looking at what you did well and what you didn’t. Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently next year. This might also be a good time to start saving for next Christmas.

If you have some thrifty tips that you think people could find useful, why not send them in? Please email and we’ll be sure to share them.



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