Saving Money on Christmas by Spreading the Cost
Thinking about Christmas in June? I must be mad! But hear me out, and you may find that thinking about Christmas all year round could save you serious amounts of money in the long run. It’s all about knowing when and where to shop.
If you, like so many of us, find yourself buying a lot of small, impersonal gifts for people you’re not that close to, then buying them now can take a lot of the stress out of the holiday season months down the line. Keep your eyes open and your wallet close, and be willing to buy little gifts all through the year so that you won’t have to rely as heavily on your December paycheque to get you through the holidays.
Stocking stuffers are just the same; anything non-edible can be purchased ahead of time, and things like personalised bookmarks or little notebooks, small toys for children and trinkets for grownups will keep for as long as you need them to.
Do remember to store all your pre-bought gifts in the same place, labelling them carefully. If you hide them somewhere inconvenient like in the loft or the basement, you may wish to keep an up-to-date spreadsheet on your computer detailing what you’ve bought and who it was for. This will make it a lot easier to keep track of what you still need when you get closer to Christmas. No faffing about looking through the dusty confines of your hiding space, trying to remember whether you’ve bought a silver shoehorn for auntie Imelda – you’ll have it all laid out in a simple spreadsheet which you can print off easily.
Of course, bigger gifts tend to need to wait until you get closer to the holidays. Children’s tastes can change so often, and you may need to coordinate with others to ensure you don’t buy the same presents as other mutual friends or relatives. For these presents, you can still be prepared.
Nip into a pound shop nearby and you’ll be able to find savings banks shaped like large tin cans. Resolve to place a certain amount of money in there every month, and you’ll be able to save up the pennies without being tempted to open up your savings pot and do something else with the contents. At this stage, £50 per month could turn into at least £250 by the beginning of December – not an amount to be sneezed at! If you can afford £100 per month, you’ll be able to cover £500 of your last-minute Christmas costs using just your savings bank!
If you start thinking about Christmas early, you can prepare yourself for the expense by spreading it across the year and allowing yourself to build a buffer of ready money that will allow you to absorb the financial expenditure of every holiday season without spending January eating ready meals and cheap noodles from the supermarket.