cash-for-christmas

I love Christmas from the time spent with family and friends through to the gorgeous decorations and delicious food. But there’s no doubt it can be a drain on the finances, especially if you have kids. Finding the cash for Christmas can be difficult and can leave you with a headache afterwards. But there are some tips to help with getting your finances organised and still enjoying the season.

Budgeting

There are various financial concerns for the modern family and budgeting out what you have available can help offset some of these during the festive season. It’s easy to get a bit excited and end up spending more than you meant to but if you work out a budget and stick to it, then you can avoid the January blues.

There’s nothing wrong with using credit to pay for Christmas but always try to get the best rates for your borrowing. Look at the rate you are paying on your credit card – is there a better rate out there? I often take a card with 0% interest for twelve months then when the time is up, look to see if I can get another card and swap the balance. But I always cancel the old one or there is the temptation to have two cards on the go and I can’t always afford double the minimum payments.

Make use of special offers and vouchers

We all know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday see some spectacular deals but there are also a lot of other deals over the Christmas period that are often not based around big ticket items. Use websites for price checking to see the best deals at any time on food and Christmas presents.

Voucher websites are also very handy and there are some good ones. Hot UK Deals and Top Cashback are just a couple of examples of websites that offer vouchers and discount codes that can save you real money or get you cashback deals on items you want to buy that can then be used against other items.

Start planning for next year

One of my pre-New Year resolutions is to try and plan my finances for next year a little better. Sure, you always want to increase your income in 2017 based on 2016 but with the way the economy is going, this might not happen. So, I want to take a proactive view on my finances and look to start saving for the Christmas period right from January.

Saving account rates aren’t great at the moment but if you shop around, there are deals to be had. And if you can put money in and not touch it for most of the year, there are also other options that might see the cash grow a nice little amount come December. But either way, you will have the lump sum of cash you need for those presents and food and we may all be able to just use credit cards for those super deals, rather than for normal shopping.

 

survive-christmas

There’s often a joke about surviving Christmas, living through the festive season and coping with the demands it can put on us. But for some people, it can become a real menace, a drain on them mentally and physically that takes most of January to recover from. So, what tips can help you survive Christmas and enjoy the festive season?

Managing the shopping

For most people, Christmas shopping is the biggest task of the holiday season, especially if you have kids. Getting to the shops to do the present-buying is easier than it used to be with extended opening hours but it can still be harassing and when you just finished work, its cold or snowing and you are tired, you just want to go home.

The answer – online shopping! There isn’t much you can’t get online these days and sometimes at better prices than in the shops. Use the internet to either research what you want so trips to the shops are less stressful or even just to do the shopping. Then the postman drops off your parcels and all you need to do is wrap them.

Christmas lunch

Christmas lunch is often the big moment of the festive season and a lot of work goes into it. Whether you are responsible for it, partly or just in charge or purchasing, it is a cause of stress. However, the stress can be reduced with organisation and planning your day – it may not be fun but it works.

Write up a list of jobs to do for the meal and see if you can do any of them the day before, such as prepping the vegetables. Then look at the timing of everything and create a list of jobs to do at what time. That way nothing is forgotten or left too late and you move smoothly from one task to another. Don’t forget to get helpers involved too and give them their assignments!

Have some ‘me’ time

We often end up feeling run down and blue after Christmas because we are so busy, we forget to leave some time for ourselves. Make sure you keep some time for yourself to relax, take it easy or to do something you enjoy that isn’t Christmas related. You could even get involved in a Christmas-themed activity such as joining a carol singing group or even working at a local soup kitchen. That way you are still doing something seasonal with your time but it is a change of pace to the rush of shopping and preparing.

Being physically active seems to be part of Christmas with all the shopping but getting the right kind of physical activity can boost your mood and make you feel better. Those mood-elevating chemicals can make you feel better and are released after physical activity so don’t forget to keep time to visit the gym, go for a walk or whatever kind of activity you enjoy. It can be a good time to meet with friends and catch up too – another activity that makes us feel better.