A Festive Season Like No Other
This has been such a strange year and the way we celebrate over the festive period will also be different. Not being able to mix and socialise with family and friends in the normal way over the past few months has made us appreciate them more and you might want to spoil them at this time of year.
However, finances are tighter than ever for many of us with people losing their jobs, being furloughed or having additional expenses associated with being at home for longer periods of time.
It has been a difficult year and we’re all looking forward to relaxing and letting our hair down but the last thing we want to do is to head into 2021 worrying about money. So, what can we do to make we have a good time but avoid nasty new year debt?
Here are a few tips that might help.
- Good money management is key to less stress. Remember, the normal monthly bills won’t go away after Christmas and they’ll need to be paid, so make sure you put away money to cover these.
- Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list, you should do so too. Make a list of everyone you’re buying for and how much you can afford to spend on each with the money you have after all the bills and essentials are covered.
- Once you’ve worked out how much money you’ll have, set a budget and stick to it. Keep a note of this on your phone or in a note book and take it shopping with you so you don’t spend too much.
- Be honest, close friends and family will be happy to take a rain check on presents if you can’t afford them. You may not have managed to save up for Christmas this year and maybe they’re in the same position and will feel less pressured too.
- A Secret Santa with family members is a good alternative to buying lots of gifts. Set a limit on what you’ll spend, everyone gets one gift and then has lots of fun trying to guess who bought it!
- Before buying gifts, look for voucher and discount codes which may reduce the cost of an item. If buying online, remember that delivery costs can soon add up. You may save money doing ‘click and collect’ instead.
- If possible avoid buying on credit. If you can’t avoid it use a comparison site to find the best product for your circumstances.
- When it comes to food only buy what you need, don’t waste money. Yes, it’s lovely to have a few extras to enjoy but if you buy too much you might end up throwing things away if they’re not eaten by the use by date.
- If money is very tight, foodbanks are there to help you through the hard times. Many food banks are closed immediately before the Christmas period so if you think you’ll need help you should get advice a few days before.
- The cost of cards can add up, so why not send an email, text or better still arrange a Zoom or face time call to say “happy Christmas”. It’s always nice to see a smiling face (and an amusing Christmas jumper)!
Finally, don’t forget to take time to relax and enjoy some time with your loved ones. 2020 has been a challenging year for us all so let’s look forward to a happy, healthy and debt-free 2021.
You can get in touch with one of our Money Advisors if you need support during the festive period.