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We all love to enjoy the festivities of Christmas, but paying for the joy is a different matter entirely. As fun and family-oriented as the festive season is, it is also full of overindulgence. Which can quickly lead to stress and debts come the new year. To avoid the serious implications of overspending, you need to take action and find ways to cut your Christmas costs. By spending wisely and saving where you can, you can have an amazing festive season without breaking the bank.
Here are ten smart ways to save money and cut the cost of Christmas this year.
Make A Realistic Budget
The first step in sticking to a budget is actually making one. With that in mind, you should take the time to sit down with a pen and paper and work out exactly how much you can afford. Once you have a certain figure, you should divide this up between every Christmas expense, including decorations, gifts, food, travel, and more. Make sure that each of these smaller budgets and your overall one is realistic, or you’ll end up spending more than you can afford regardless.
Look For Deals Online
Now that you know how much you have and what you need to buy, you can go ahead and do that. Just make sure that you look for deals online first. More often than not, you can find things cheaper online than you can in stores. And, if you can’t, there is usually a deal or voucher of some kind that can cut the cost down. Take advantage of online price comparison tools to find the best rates for the things you need quickly and easily.
Plan Your Shopping Trips
When you do head to the shops, it’s vital that you do so with a clear goal and plan in mind. If you go out there with no idea of what you need to buy, then, chances are, you’ll massively overspend or buy things you really don’t need. Instead of heading out unprepared, you should take a look at your to-buy list and note down the things you can pick up on your travels. If you can’t find something that’s on the list, avoid panic buying something else, or you might regret it.
Hold Off On Extras
Christmas is a time of overindulgence, so it’s no surprise that many shoppers pick up things for themselves while hunting for gifts for family and friends. If you want to cut costs, you should hold off on these extras, whether they be a new pair of shoes or just a cup of coffee. Instead, wear the ones you already have and learn how to use a french press so that you can take some out with you. These costs may not seem too substantial, but they’ll add up if you’re not careful.
Cut The Invisible Corners
Unfortunately, it’s not just extras for you that can ruin your budget this Christmas season. General additions, like freshly-made wreaths, fancy napkins, and luxury wrapping paper all cost money too but are very rarely noticed by anyone other than you. Cutting invisible corners, by switching to paper napkins and ditching the wreath, can all make a big difference when it comes to your budget. And, thankfully, it’s unlikely that anyone will spot the difference.
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Eliminate Last-Minute Costs
Leaving things to the last minute will almost always cost you more, as well as make for a stressful experience. For this reason, you should ensure you plan ahead and book or buy everything a little while in advance. This is especially important when it comes to travel, days out, and restaurant bookings. Unless you’re prepared, you’ll have to pay more, and that’s only if what you wanted to book isn’t already sold out. Booking early also allows you to look for deals.
Try Out Cheaper Traditions
Every family has their own traditions for over the Christmas period, but some are much more expensive than others. If your family likes to book vacations or days out, eat at fancy restaurants, or exchange extravagant gifts, then you should consider switching things up this year. There are plenty of cheaper traditions you could try out, all of which are just as fun. Examples include visiting Santa at the mall, baking Christmas treats, and watching movies.
Host A Secret Santa
Another example of a cheap Christmas tradition is hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange. This is a great idea for large families or groups of friends as it means that you only have to worry about buying a gift for one person, rather than one for everyone. All you need to do is set a spending limit that everyone agrees with and stick everyone’s names in a hat. You can get together on Christmas day or a day or two before then to celebrate and share your presents.
Rethink The Festive Food
As costly as gifts are, food isn’t particularly cheap either. In fact, some families spend more on their Christmas dinner than they do on all of the gifts they buy. To keep costs low, you should rethink your festive food and find ways to cut costs. For example, you could switch to generic frozen vegetables instead of buying branded fresh ingredients. You could also take a look at the menu and see if there are any foods you could eliminate from your shopping list.
Prepare For Next Year
The few weeks just after Christmas is the perfect time to look over your budget and start preparing for next year. You can go through your finances and determine exactly how much money you can afford to put aside each month. Then, you can open a savings account and set up automatic payments. You can also take advantage of the sales throughout the year and stock up on all of the things you’ll need next Christmas.
Overspending throughout the festive season is an incredibly common problem. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. To save yourself unnecessary debt and stress, remember the advice above and cut costs this Christmas.