Christmas is an incredibly stressful time when you are broke. The demands of silly season are quite high; from parties to presents. You never seem to have enough money. So here are some top tips to not feeling overwhelmed by all of the money pressures and how to stay out of debt this Christmas.
1. Go easy on Christmas presents
You don’t have to get yourself into debt buying presents for loved ones. I don’t have a large family to buy for unlike many people. However, limit yourself to a budget for the family over Christmas. Explain to friends you will meet them for drinks but your presence is enough. Agree not to do presents this year. I am sure they might be just as relieved!
One year when I was a student. I gave my brother a Guinness shirt and he turned it around to see ‘Staff’ written on the back. I might have been outed but we giggled about it for ages afterwards.
Why not join forces with other family members to buy Christmas gifts. My brothers and I used to buy my mother something between us each year. OK, we might have given my younger brother money who chose it but it worked! At least that way she received thoughtful and loving gifts.
You could also even opt for Secret Santa in your family. So instead of buying a gift for everyone. Suggest you hold a Secret Santa and then all you have to do is buy one person in your family a gift. My mother and I traditionally buy each other something in the sales because it’s something we do together after the Christmas rush.
2. Don’t buy lots of new outfits
Everyone wants to look good when they go out over Christmas but that doesn’t mean to say you have to buy a new outfit each time. The sales may have started but dig deep in your wardrobe first. Accessorise rather than slash the cash. More often than not your friends wouldn’t have seen you in ages anyway, so bring out all of the fabulous clothes you haven’t worn in a while instead! It’s time to bring out that LBD again.
3. Keep it minimal
I don’t want to sound a scrooge here but I don’t waste money on Christmas trees in rented accommodation. I have my two amazing beauty advent calendars from my friend Lauren, which will do me. I might splash out and get some tinsel. I found 5 pieces of tinsel for a tenner in a market in Angel recently. When I go home I will celebrate rather than buying anything in London. Even then we will bring out all of the Christmas decorations from last year.
4. Try to be good some of the time
I have a terrible habit of buying everyone drinks when I am out. Even when I can’t really afford to. My best friend used to laugh at me saying, ‘The Milky Bars are on me’. However, as much as I love going out. Make sure you set out time to meet old friends, but then minimise the amount of times you go out over Christmas. There are always opportunities to go out and have fun. Just refrain from buying large rounds and splashing the cash. I add everything in my spending app, which helps monitor spending on nights out! Also, only take out one credit card. If you have them all on you, somewhere at Prosecco glass 3, you will think it’s a great idea to splash out on cocktails for everyone. Just try to be good some of the time this Christmas.
5. Buy last minute items in the sales
I used to buy Christmas presents on Xmas Eve on my way home to be with the family. Only half of my family ever got anything that way. Although my brother used to be the best present buyer so I would give him money each year to source presents with. I would like to say I am not so lastminute.com. Buying over the internet has made things so much easier, but I have still left everything to the last minute, so the sales it is! With retail feeling the pinch this year, many shops have started their Christmas sales already. I still have the best brother in the world who has sourced a number of amazing presents on my behalf, but it looks like it’s online shopping this weekend! Then it’s off to Sainsbury’s on Christmas Eve to see what they are selling off before the big day! Mum’s best top tip.