Is the upcoming festive season grinding your train of thought to a halt? Are you anxious of the holidays rather than feeling the joyous vibes? I hear you! I’m going to share how to budget for a debt free Christmas and also a FREE printable at the bottom of this post for all of your Christmas budgeting and lists of things to do for the festive period.
It’s so important not to get into debt for the sake of this one day and there are lots of ways in which you can still enjoy a magical time without it affecting your finances for the months ahead.
Christmas is a season of happiness and gratitude; it is not something that should push you into stressful debt. If you end up nose-deep in debt each Christmas, you need to read this. We have a few tips on budgeting and planning finances beforehand so that the holiday cheer doesn’t convert into a nightmare to recover from for the rest of the year.
How to budget for a debt free Christmas.
- Now is the time to think and plan. Christmas season is around the corner, but you can still set a budget now, it’s not too late! Divide that amount by the number of pay checks remaining until Christmas and you would know how much to save with each pay check.
- Write down everything you will need to pay out for over the coming weeks. Not just presents but food, transport, lodgings, drinks, nights out etc.
- List out all the people you need gifts for and set a max amount per person in that list. This should be your guideline before you set out shopping.
- Have a credit card? Check for reward points and what you can redeem them for. There should be a number of points which can help you buy gifts for at least a few people! Not just gifts, sometimes the card points can even help you with discounts on ticket prices – especially good if you’re traveling over the festive period.
- We’re always bombarded with marketing for the “Biggest Sale”, but remember a deal is only a deal if you needed it in the first place – otherwise you end up spending more money than if you didn’t buy it!
- For a debt free Christmas, always check online first, before you step into a store. A little comparison is always better. The same item might be on discount online and you might need to pay full price in the store so always check on the websites and apps first. On the flip side, you can also get some discounts in stores and those offers are not applicable online. Take a pick. It isn’t necessarily cheaper online but get into the habit of always checking both before buying. **Remember cashback sites if you are buying online – I never shop without them! Click here to get £5 for free when signing up)
- Use the shop reward cards if you have them. Remember that store cards like Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar cards etc give the option to exchange points for meals out or products. It helps to utilize these offers at the time of Christmas to save a lot!
- Online surveys are a nice idea to gain some discount vouchers and offers, have a look at Swagbucks with this referral link to get free money! The surveys send you gift cards and coupons which are redeemable by a certain date and you can use these coupons for the holiday shopping spree! This will save you some money and you can stay debt free this Christmas.
- Sell things you don’t need online. Many platforms like eBay have made selling unused or underused items in the household easier. Just click the item’s picture and post it to sell. You got extra cash for the festive season whilst clearing your home of some unwanted unloved items. This also means, you can help others celebrate debt free Christmas by selling lightly used items for a bargain! Win – win for everyone!
- Go minimal and eco-friendly with the decorations. Christmas decorations are all about lights and fancy, flashy things, but you can go minimal, cool and chic using everyday items too. If you pick a rustic décor it can be done up using simple things like twigs, popcorn and pinecones. This is easy on the pocket as well as very easy on the planet!
- Give handmade and edible gifts to distant relationships like co-workers or the Pastor. You can bake cookies as gifts, buy seasonal fruit from farmer’s markets and gift a basket or even make handmade goodies like handcrafted bookmarks, cushions, throws or even handmade chocolates.
- Make homemade reindeer food to put out for Santa’s pals – a great way of entertaining the children before the big day and very inexpensive too!
- Don’t buy new decorations each year to fit a different on-trend theme. Reinvent your old decorations by flocking with snow spray or spraying gold. Nature can also serve as some beautiful rustic decorations like baubles hanging from a branch or a homemade wreath with holly and fir. Remember not to take too much from nature and ask for permission if you’re on private land.
- Save gift bags and paper all year long and you will not need to buy them for the holidays separately! When you get a gift bag or paper, smooth it out, flatten it and put it under a flat surface where it will stay under weight, like under the mattress of your bed. The creases will eventually go away, and you shall have as good as new bags and papers to pack the gifts.
- Save money by not buying cards (and stamps!) You can wish the people you love online using free digital cards. An easy step towards debt free Christmas could be stopping old traditions.
- You can grab some Poundland frames (revamp them, optionally, using creativity and cheap craft supplies) and put pictures of people you want to gift it to – framed photo gifts for a lot less than you expected!
- Begin a temporary part time job. If you want some extra cash for the holidays and don’t want to go into debt, you can begin a temp job for the months leading to the big holiday, after you are done with the full-time job! The extra cash will come handy the moment the festival frenzy begins!
- No crazy Christmas lists please! Ask your family not to create wish lists, rather, focus on the spirit of Christmas. Being together and celebrating with simplicity are the more important things. Gift lists just increases the expectations and material possessiveness and barely gives any result.
- Never fall in the trap of ‘buy now pay later’ because ultimately it will be YOUR money which will go into it, now or later and sabotage your debt free Christmas.
- Black Friday can be an amazing time to get a bargain, check this video for some amazing tips for how to make the most of Black Friday and get some amazing deals – remember though, a deal is only a deal if you need it in the first place!!
These tips can be tried so that your festive cheer doesn’t go out the window amidst the financial stress of debt clearing. Try them out! They might change the way you look at Christmas!
CHRISTMAS PLANNING AND BUDGETING PRINTABLES
Click the pic and you’ll be taken to a printable for you to use for your own Christmas planning!