The dark nights are drawing in and there’s a distinct chill in the air so that means only one thing – it’s nearly the holidays! Now you might think it’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but there are less that 12 weeks to go, which means you have around 2 or 3 paychecks before the big day!
Even though time seems to be running fast, you can still make a difference to your savings; you don’t want to be one of the third of people who rely on borrowing money to pay for Christmas. You can still make yourself a budget to cover the cost of food, presents, transport and festivities so that you can have a great holiday period and an even better debt-free start to the new year.
This is something that you should sort out now. Buy your train tickets a.s.a.p as the longer you leave it, the more they will cost. As it’s the Christmas period you’ll also run the risk of not getting a seat if you leave it too late. The same goes if you are travelling by air – book your tickets now to secure a good fair and ensure you arrive before the day itself. If you’re travelling by car or taxi, make yourself a budget that includes the cost of petrol and get your car serviced before you go – breaking down does not make a great start to your holidays!
The trick to not over-buying is to make sure you create a present list before you go shopping. You should also make sure you set a fixed budget for each person and stick to it when you are shopping. It’s all too easy to start your shopping and end up buying far more than you had set out to. The closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it becomes to only get what you have budgeted for, as the shops are all filled with festive gifts and more temptation to spend! Get your gifts early and even save some money by using things like Google Alerts to let you know when there is a price reduction on what you are looking for.
Most of us look forward to having a nice meal with our families and no matter if your tradition is a giant turkey with all the trimmings, a nice nut roast or even a takeaway curry, the cost of feeding everyone is still going to be high. When you do your food shopping you’ll probably pick up extras that you don’t need. Think about past dinners – how much of it end up in the bin? Instead of ending up with loads of waste, work out what you actually need and do your shopping online. You can book your christmas delivery slot with most stores early if you have a delivery pass, so book ahead of time. Make sure you check mysupermarket for special offers and where your shop will be the cheapest before you buy.
Don’t forget to put some money aside for all the festivities. You are more than likely to be attending parties, festive days out and maybe even a day trip or two which can make December a very expensive month. Budget for the trips, but also for things like decorations (including the tree), new outfits, tickets to shows, parties and spending money too.