We start with the countdown to Christmas! The era of traditions such as dinners, inns and exchanges is coming that are undoubtedly very fun but can also hit our finances hard. So in this article we share some simple tips to save money at Christmas time.
First a reminder
Before starting the list of tips to save money, we invite you to do an exercise to focus your Christmas expenses . We know that even when finances seem to be a matter of logic, most of our financial decisions are influenced by our emotions.
Therefore, one way to better manage your Christmas euphoria is to write a short list of why this time is important for you. Not only is it a cheesy exercise of reflection, but to understand what your true objective and arguments are when using your money.
Do you want to spend quality time with the people you love most? Thank your parents for their efforts? Gather your group of friends? Create a magical moment for your children?
Those are excellent motivations to enjoy these times. Now, with these tips to save money, you will realize that it is not necessary to fully enter the gas station to feel that Christmas is coming.
Tips to save money at Christmas
1. Make a list by categories
If you start analyzing point by point how you are going to allocate your money to join the celebrations, it will be easier for you to identify the expense it represents for you. These categories may include gifts, dinners, decorations, trips, etc.
Try to be as detailed as possible and incidentally apply the previous exercise to each category to understand what your motivation is with each one.
2. Define a total limit for expenses
Now that you know how or with what you would like to participate, you have to be realistic. As you know, in Katharina we support the use of budgets to keep a better control of your finances and that includes making budgets for special occasions.
Check your income and savings to see how much you can allocate to your categories without unbalancing your fixed expenses or other goals such as paying off your debts.
3. Set aside what you can
Go back to your list of categories and compare it with your spending budget. Do you still have enough to buy gifts and new decorations? If the answer is NO then sort your categories by priorities. You can adjust the percentages of each category or even eliminate those that are not so necessary.
4. Propose an exchange of gifts
One of the biggest concerns is having to buy gifts for all the people you're going to celebrate with. Instead, continue with the tradition of Christmas exchanges to just buy a well thought out gift.
5. Don't give in to social pressure
It is also worth saying no to the 14 exchanges you are being invited to. Remember that you don't have to feel committed, only you know your budget and you don't have to spend as much as others.
It is best to be clear with your family and friends from the beginning about what you can afford. Most likely, they agree to adapt to your budget so that everyone can live together.
6. Try group gifts
Well they say that Christmas is a time to share, so why not join forces? If you and your brothers want to buy something unforgettable from your parents, then buy something from everyone. The same applies to give a gift to any other person such as teachers, classmates, friends, etc.
7. Beware of seasonal offers
Even though the Good End, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been left behind, the bidding season continues. This can be a danger if you find something that is neither in your monthly budget nor at Christmas. Just think very well before falling for these offers.
8. Think about next year's expenses
Another way not to get carried away by the offers or the Christmas euphoria is to think that the January slope awaits us at the end of the year. Have you forgotten about the Property or the registration for next semester? How about vehicle ownership for states where it is still in force? Remember that you still have time to prevent next year's debts.
9. Do not overdo the decorations
If it's decorations, try first to take out all your inventory and decorate with what you already have. Do you think having the most festive house is worth it compared to other expenses? Priority above all.
10. Get to work!
You can still save several of your categories if you decide to put effort into doing things by hand. Many times a gift made by you has much more value for those who receive it than something that can be purchased at any store.
You can also apply this point for your decorations or gift wrapping. There are many ideas on sites like Pinterest that help you save more than you think.
Don't stop enjoying this Christmas
There are many other tips to save money at Christmas, nothing that a visit to Google can not solve. However, the biggest tip remains the one mentioned in the reminder.
Forget about the social pressure and the "dislikes" that you can cause. If you give priority to that before spending time with your loved ones, the surprise visit will not be from Santa Claus, but from your new debts.
Enjoy Christmas being aware of why you celebrate it and you will undoubtedly make the best decisions for you and your wallet.