How to plan financially for Christmas when money is short
September 14, 2016
Christmas can be stressful for all of us, but particularly so if you are short of money and have a limited budget for presents and celebrations. Making the money stretch can be very difficult, but you can plan ahead to make the most of the New Year sales.
If you follow our tips for budgeting and saving, you’ll soon be in control of what can be the most expensive time of the year.
So where do you start with your financial plan for Christmas, and how can you get the most out of your money?
Spread the cost over the whole year
Although buying presents for the following Christmas may seem a little premature when you are still celebrating the current one, it’s never too early to save on items that you will need to buy at some point anyway.
If you have the money available and see some gifts that would be ideal, it’s wise to take advantage of the discount and get ahead for next year. You can also make huge savings on Christmas cards and wrapping paper, costs which are often overlooked, but that add up considerably.
Plan your purchases and start saving as soon as possible
It’s important to make a plan for Christmas spending, and stick to it. That means setting an affordable budget for each friend or family member, and not being tempted to spend more money on them in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
If you can afford to put some money aside each week starting in January, however small the amount, you’ll be surprised how much you have saved towards the end of the year. It’s also a good idea to keep the money out of reach in a separate account to avoid temptation.
Make your own gifts
Most people love receiving homemade gifts, as they understand the time and effort that’s gone into making them. You can also save yourself a lot of money this way if you have the spare time.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be crafty or creative, there are plenty of tutorials online for making biscuits, chocolates, and other gifts, and even for creating your own wrapping paper and gift tags.
Cut back on the presents
As families grow in numbers, Christmas can sometimes feel like a financial burden rather than a pleasure. Others in the family may be feeling the strain on their finances too, and might welcome the idea of cutting back a little.
It’s the thought that counts, and although each gift may cost less, you can tailor it to the individual – then you stay in control of your finances without losing the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas food and drink
It’s not just the presents that can send you into debt at Christmas. Food and drink is a crucial part of the celebrations for many people, but the cost can cause misery and debt for months to come.
It’s tempting to buy everything you need just before the big day, but as with the presents, there are certain food items you can buy during the year. Non-perishables, such as packets of sauces and stuffing, can be purchased months before the big day and stored safely.
Scotland Debt Solutions helps people in Scotland to deal with debt by offering professional help and advice in complete confidence. Our aim is to help you deal with existing debt, and prevent further financial decline. Call one of the team for a free initial meeting – we have four offices around Scotland.
Citizens Advice has issued stern criticism of credit card companies for automatically increasing borrowing limits for customers who are already struggling with debt problems they can’t escape from. The charity’s own research has found that almost one in five people who are grappling with credit card debt problems have had their borrowing limits increased without […]
High factoring fees are placing an increasing financial strain on many property owners in Scotland, with some property factoring companies being criticised for huge price rises for what is often only essential basic maintenance and insurance. The purpose of a factor is to carry out ongoing maintenance, cleaning, and servicing of communal areas in property […]
Continuous payment authorities, or CPAs, are often used by payday loan providers as a way to take repayments via a debit card, or sometimes a credit card. A CPA effectively grants permission to take recurring payments, but it can be hard to revoke if you later experience financial difficulty and need to cancel the authority. […]
The car finance market is currently under investigation by regulators, as fears grow that it could become the next ‘debt bubble.’ The problem is that personal contract purchase (PCP) and hire purchase (HP) car financing agreements require little in the way of an initial deposit, and can be easily obtained by consumers posing a high […]
The latest figures on the use of food banks in Scotland show a disproportionately high need by Scottish residents in terms of population numbers, when compared with any other area of the UK. The Trussell Trust distributed 145,865 food parcels to Scottish residents in 2016/17 via their food banks, with almost 48,000 of those food […]
Because it’s highly addictive, gambling on even a small scale can turn into an addiction that takes over your life. The fact that it’s also easily accessible online now only serves to exacerbate this growing problem. So if you recognise that gambling has become an addiction, either for yourself, a friend, or a family member, […]