Senior Paraplanner, James Foston, has written his 6 top tips on how to deal with the financial pressures of Christmas!
James has been with us at IFP for 5 years and is a valued member of the Paraplanning team so all of the bespoke and detailed reports that our clients receive are written by yours truly. We weren’t lying when we said he’s a valued member! Some may say he’s one of the main elves behind our operations, preparing tailored recommendations for your circumstances and ensuring the advice you receive is suitable, whilst ensuring your goals and objectives are met.
So, without further ado, here’s James’ top 6 tips on how to deal with the financial pressures of Christmas!
Can you believe it? It’s that time of year again. They’re halfway through defrosting Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey has just sold the local Boots out of Lemsip.
As we all know Christmas can be a magical time filled with friends, family, and (too much) food. But for some, the financial pressures of Christmas can cause a lot of worry and stress that take away from what should be an enjoyable event.
In this article I have put together a few tips that can help you get organised and hopefully take a little bit of that stress away.
1. Set a budget and stick to it
It may sound simple, but the best way to avoid Christmas having a harmful financial impact is to work out what you can afford and don’t go beyond your means. This can be tricky if you end up not being able to spend as much as you had hoped but this is much better in the long run than overspending and dealing with the potential consequences.
Be open and honest about this with family and friends as you may find out they are struggling too. This can help to relieve the psychological burden of trying to keep up with peers or not wanting to let anybody down.
We have an expenditure spreadsheet here that can help you plan your overall spending throughout the year and allow you to calculate what you’ve got spare for Christmas.
2. Plan ahead
It’s very tempting when you go out shopping to think ‘ooh I’ll just have one of them’ and then you end up with ten ‘ones of them’ and suddenly you’re in trouble!
Make a list before you head off to do the big food shop or to go and get presents. This can help you keep on track and know that you’re not going to end up with lots of small costs adding up and tipping you over that pre-agreed budget.
3. Get the shopping in early
If you have the space to freeze things or plenty of cupboards to stock up with drinks and non-perishable foods, then start as early as possible with your shopping. Getting a few bits in each week will only add a manageable amount to your weekly shop. This can help with budgeting for the rest of Christmas and avoids adding one big bill as you approach the end of December.
The only downside to this is not eating or drinking it all before the big day. We’ve all had to experience the ‘that’s the Christmas lemonade’ death stare from our parents before!
4. Consider alternative gifts
Marketing Executives across the land would kill me for saying this but…not every gift has to cost a fortune! Or even be purchased at all for that matter.
You could gift an experience such as organising a (free) day out or a voucher offering up your time to babysit for example. You could also consider low cost but thoughtful homemade gifts such as photo memory boards or baked festive treats.
5. Boxing Day can be your friend
Look, this isn’t going to work if you’re wanting to get everything in time for Christmas Day. However, many of us now live in blended families or are spread out across the country and this tends to mean we see people we may buy gifts for after Christmas Day.
With this in mind it could be worth considering dipping into the Boxing Day sales before you go on your travels as there can be huge discounts available.
6. Life after Christmas
You would struggle to believe this if you step into any shop in the country after 1st November, but life does go on after Christmas. It’s important to consider this when budgeting and making sure that early pay packet or Christmas bonus received in December will also support you throughout January.
Hopefully this has given you a few tips that can help to reduce the financial pressures of Christmas and allow you to be free to enjoy it!