Did you know that over half of brits rely on credit cards to help spread the cost of Christmas each year? This trend often leads to many people spending more money than they can actually afford, resulting in more consumers being faced with financial hardship and turning to debt management solutions such as a Trust Deed as a way to manage their finances more effectively.
One of the most common pieces of advice we hear is to spend less. However, with the holidays just around the corner, it’s almost impossible not to spend more money than you usually do.
What with presents, food, drinks, decorations, and travel expenses, the holidays are bound to be an expensive couple of weeks. This, however, is the mindset you have to get out of.
If you’re not in a very good place financially, it’s better to view the holidays as an opportunity to hone your bargain-hunting skills and discover a creative and ingenuous side in yourself.
Give fewer presents
Now might be a good time to have a conference call or sit down with your family and friends and have a discussion about this year’s gift-giving. You can ask them if you all would be agreeable to some sort of arrangement that would enable you to buy presents for just one person in your extended family or friend group. You can write names on separate scraps of paper, put them in a bowl, and the name you draw will be the person you give a present to.
Give handmade presents
If you’re not sold on giving fewer presents, there’s still an inexpensive way to give a little something to your friends and family. The internet has a large trove of information and instructions on making all sorts of items yourself. Even if you’re not very artistic, there are tutorials you can easily follow. Something you made with your hands may be more special than something you buy off a shelf at a store. It can also be a great way to have fun with the kids or learn an interesting new craft.
Consider putting up DIY decorations
If you’ll be hand making presents, why not hand make your holiday decorations as well? The best thing about this is that if you go outdoors, you can have a lot of materials to work with. You can pick leaves, pine cones, berries, and twigs to make your own Christmas wreaths and ornaments, and all you’ll have to spend on is glue or maybe some ribbons. You can also buy an artificial tree in advance so you won’t have to buy a real tree every year.
Look for transport fare discounts and promos
The holidays are the time to visit family and spend time with them, but traveling can be expensive. Go online and look for airlines or trains that are offering discounts or travel promos. Early reservations also go a long way in making you spend less on tickets. You may have to adjust you schedule somewhat, so figure out if the adjustment is worth the money you’ll be saving. Make sure to look at your transport options and figure out which one is ultimately cheaper.
Look for vouchers, gift cards, coupons, and sales
You also have the choice of giving gift cards instead of actual gifts. This way, the recipient can choose something they actually want and will use. Coupons and vouchers can also help you spend less presents, so make sure to keep an eye out for them. Stores usually have sales near the holidays; check their social media pages regularly to find out when they’ll be having a sale. You’ll probably still spend a little more than you usually do, but you won’t be overdrawing your account for presents.
Find a supermarket with lower prices
One hallmark of the holidays is having a lot of food. Take the time to go around your local supermarkets and compare their prices. We are always told that the best items are always the most expensive, but that’s not always the case. With good enough cooking kills, the brands you buy won’t matter. Do some research on which brands are affordable but still great, and find out which stores carry them, this way, you can still have your holiday feast without overspending and buying overpriced holiday food.
Prepare just enough food
During the holidays, people tend to prepare too much food. While it’s nice to have leftovers, sometimes these leftovers tend to go to waste. One way to avoid this is to pay close attention to the recipes, the portions, and how many people you’ll be feeding. You can allow for some leftovers for your guests to take home, but make sure that all these leftovers can be consumed right away. You can also donate excess leftovers to local shelters. Remember waste not, want not!
Sell or donate unused items
Go through your things at home and make a pile of everything that’s still in good condition but haven’t been used in a long time. You can sell these items online or in a yard sale to make room for this year’s presents and to augment your finances. Of course, donating things, especially items like blankets and clothes, is always a good idea. If you’re selling, make sure that the items are in good condition and that they’ll be snapped up before the holidays come along.
Avoid buying big-ticket items during the Christmas season
Your kids may have been badgering you for a new TV, or you may want to buy your parents a new appliance for their home. These things tend to become more expensive as the holidays roll around. Instead of buying them so close to Christmas, buy them much earlier in the year, or wait until after New Year’s celebrations. You’ll have more time to look for better prices and you may even come across a sale or discounted items.
Hunt for bargains online
Amazon and Ebay are great places for online shopping. It may be challenging to bid on some items, but if you take the time to hunt for less popular posts, you may just come across something great. Chances are, you’ll also be spending less as compared to buying brand-new items from the store shelves. Just make sure that you factor in the shipping costs. Finding a bargain item online is a great way to save money and beneficial in the long run.