Monday, 9 December 2019

DECEMBER 9: HOW CAN YOU MAKE CHRISTMAS INCREDIBLE ON A VERY SMALL BUDGET?*

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Christmas is an expensive time of year. You have to think about gifts, food and decorations, travel, postage costs, cards and so much more. It can be a strain even if your financial situation is ok, but if you’re struggling for money it probably leaves you feeling extremely stressed. Maybe you’ve recently lost your job, had a large expense to pay out, or are trapped in a paycheck to paycheck cycle due to high living costs and low wages. You might even be trying to save money for a goal such as a house deposit and don’t want to spend much. Either way, here are some ways to manage when it comes to Christmas.

Start early
It’s too late to do this for Christmas this year, but if you always find yourself in a similar position in December then next year, start earlier. Start picking up gifts and stocking fillers months beforehand, then store them away. You could buy one thing every week which wouldn’t break the bank but you’ll be really grateful for when the festive period rolls back around. When you do this you can take advantage of sales, deals and discounts and aren’t having to panic buy at the last minute. Even things like long life food- biscuits, chocolate, frozen items can be purchased months ahead and stashed away, by the time December comes you’ll already have most of what you need. It can feel a bit strange buying for Christmas in August, September and October but if you’re on a small budget it just makes sense. *This is a partnership post.

Borrow sensibly
If you’re keen to buy gifts, food and other things to treat your family this year but don’t have money saved then borrowing is an option. Of course, you will want to plan this out and do so sensibly so that you don’t end up running up debt that follows you all the way through 2020. Work out how much you’d like to borrow and how much you can realistically afford to pay back each week or month. This is another way to spread the cost of Christmas, although when it comes to borrowing you do have to be aware of the interest rates. Go through everything with a fine tooth comb, that way you can make an informed decision about what exactly you’ll be paying back overall and can do so in a sensible and calculated way. If you know you won’t be accepted for a credit card or loan with a major bank check out companies offering payday loans bad credit as you’re much more likely to be approved. Once you’ve submitted your details, you usually get the cash put in your bank pretty quickly, so you can go out and buy the things you need. Write a list of exactly what you intend to buy so that every penny is put to the best use and nothing is being wasted. 

Take the focus away from material things
If you don’t have a whole lot of money and can't (or don't want to) borrow any, consider celebrating Christmas with an emphasis away from material things. Cook a delicious dinner, it doesn’t have to be traditional or expensive, and enjoy that with the people you care about. Watch movies, play games together, make it all about the time you’re sharing rather than what everyone is buying for each other. Time spent is the most precious resource of all, so don’t overlook this when it comes to Christmas. If you want to give gifts of some kind, consider getting crafty. Bake each other cakes or cookies, draw each other pictures, sew, knit or get creative in another way. Not only are handmade gifts heartfelt and precious but you can still give each other something without spending a fortune. You could even decide against a gift free Christmas, and instead just swap beautiful handmade cards or notes to each other explaining why that person means so much to you. It’s sure to mean more than a generic gift grabbed off the shelf of a shop. 

Have you ever switched things up at Christmas due to not having much money, or because you felt that the money was better spent elsewhere?

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