“Ahhh… Christmas!” *Slouches into the arm chair with a cup of tea and a tin of Roses* – this is what we dream about when it comes to Christmas, but in reality we tend to spend 99% of our time doing the opposite. Running around doing the shopping, stressing over our budgets and most of the time forgetting half of the things we actually need to do! But I guess that’s just part of Christmas!
It can be difficult for us all striving to create a memorable Christmas year after year especially when $$$ is in the back of your mind, I want to help you stay on track financially and mentally – I’ve updated our 12 Jolly tips for Christmas for 2016! I’m here to help you make the most of the beloved holiday season… and aye, following these tips might just earn you some extra time in that arm chair!
But just follow my top tips and you’ll have a peaceful, argument-free Christmas, well, as argument-free as possible.
- List everyone that you intend to buy for.
Budget a reasonable amount that you can afford to spend on each person – making a shopping list will also help you avoid impulse buying and keep track of your spending!
- Try a new approach to buying presents.
You could agree a spending limit with your friends/family or try an option like a Secret Santa or Papa Noel.
- Do your research.
If you have a present in mind, shop around and compare prices, both in store and online. The web usually kicks the high street for touch on price! Forget department stores – A whole bunch of specialist online sellers offer things like
designer perfume for a fraction of the high street price.
- Drop expensive, high-stress traditions.
If you’re dragging the kids off to see the annual panto but they’re moaning every step of the way, why not change it up? “It’s a tradition!” I hear you, Irish families thrive on traditions, but isn’t it just about spending time together?
- Request free gift wrapping.
Take advantage of this wherever you can, shops don’t always advertise this service, so be sure to ask! You’ll save a fortune on wrapping materials and
remove another task from the list.
6. Need extra Christmas cash? Flog it.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”
If a few more quid in the Xmas fund would really help, why not turn some junk
around the house into potential cash! Sites like eBay, Adverts and DoneDeal allow you to do this easily for small fees.
7. Use courier services to cut costs
Sending a parcel? If it’s more than 2kg, it may be worthwhile browsing discount web courier’s prices online! You can even have the goods collected from your home to save you a journey to the post office. You could save a packet! (Sorry).
8. IOU for big purchases?
Christmas is the year’s costliest shopping time, but January is the cheapest! If you’re eyeing up a big-time family purchase like a TV… why not wait? If you’re comfortable with the person – give a nicely-wrapped IOU, and buy that present in the sales! You could include a small extra gift in the meantime from the potential savings.
- January Sales!
Put off shopping for clothes until the sales start on St. Stephen’s Day. You can also pick up some great bargains for next Christmas on cards and decorations! Buying them in January means you’ve already taken some of the pressure off
yourself for the following Christmas. They’re not going to go out of fashion!
- Hold on to your normal rituals.
If you like to read for half an hour before bed, don’t give it up in favour of yet another Christmas task! Keep practicing your normal budgeting and saving principles (like our Money-Tip-Monday), we don’t need to go mad and change everything for the sake of one day!
- Remember to have fun.
As you take part in decorating the tree or preparing the dinner, take a deep breath and savour the moment – it’s Christmas after all! Give yourself permission to forget about what’s left on your to-do list once in a while.
Perhaps seeing what the kids are doing, going to the bathroom, or helping with the dishes or preparations can get you some time away from the folks who drive you crazy.
Maybe this is the real reason why there is always football to watch on Christmas.
If you can take a walk, then that can be a bonus (as well as good for your body to boot).
Christmas lunch is the one time of the day when older children don’t have to answer questions from inquisitive relatives about what they really get up to. Make the most of this quiet time by ensuring that you are stuffing your face at all times during the meal.
If anyone tries to bring up an uncomfortable subject or asks you what you plan to do with your life, pop an item of food in your mouth and give them an apologetic look, as if to say “Sorry, but it’s rude to speak with your mouth full”.