Top tips on budgeting your last pay cheque before Christmas
‘Tis the season to be jolly.
But how jolly can you be when you’ve bought a ton of Christmas presents and now there’s too much month left at the end of your money?
You’re probably right – your mum does deserve an island. But what you really should have bought her was a scented candle, because there’s nothing worse than December’s pay drying out before the end of the month.
I’ve got great news though – it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little thought and planning, Christmas can be enjoyed financially care free. Just check out our tips below to see how you can alleviate the stress and enjoy your scandalously overpriced turkey crown with peace of mind.
1. Set limitations and stick to them
Making a budget is the simplest, yet most effective tip to help you control your Christmas spending. By writing down how much you plan to spend on presents and food, it becomes much easier to resist impulse spending on unnecessary extras like that 18 karat gold vinyl player for your mate Dave who says he’s a vinyl enthusiast.
Alternatively, get your friends and family to partake in some good old fashioned Secret Santa. No, we’re not talking about the token gesture office version where you end up with a bunch of old tat that you have to pretend to be grateful for, but a decent family friendly and more importantly, budget friendly version.
2. Say no to the power of plastic
The power of plastic is scary when it comes to shopping. Within a few moments you can swipe your card and boom £1000 has gone on a new Jet Ski for Nanna. The problem with using your card for purchases is that it’s all too easy to rack up a huge bill, so the best way to avoid it over Christmas is simple. Put a ban on using your cards.
By withdrawing the cash you need, you will find spending it a lot more difficult. Physically handing over your hard earned cash is more painful than punching a few numbers into the chip and pin machine.
3. Spread the cost
This tip might be a little too late to try out now, but why not try putting away £50 – £100 per month into a ‘Christmas’ account over the course of the next 12 months. By the time December comes, you’ve already got around £800 saved, meaning your pay for that month doesn’t have to be touched.
The great thing about this method is it’s totally in your control – so if you have a tight month with bills or car repairs, you can just put £20 in the fund. Either way, you can make sure that you have a great little nest egg at year end for all of the presents, wine and food you need.
4. Keep tabs on forthcoming internet deals and discount codes
Often overlooked as a purely second hand website, eBay can also be a great source of bargain hunting. The same goes for Groupon too, as they are constantly offering unusual gifts at great prices. These sites offer a great opportunity to avoid paying full price for online goods, but as the offers are usually limited, timing is of the essence.
For those of you who are feeling super savvy, why not activate your inner coupon King or Queen by hunting for online discount codes. One simple way of doing this is searching for the retailer’s name followed by ‘discount codes’ on Google. You never know what you might find, but at this time of the year, every penny you can save helps.
All of these tips have the potential to help you stay frugal over the Christmas period, without actually having an impact on the quality of your festive break, so give them a try and see if you can make this Christmas the first time where you’ve actually got money left at the end of the month – good luck.