Are you spending less this Christmas?Posted on: 10 November 2015 by Gareth Hargreaves
Christmas is coming, the goose may be getting fat - but many households will still be tightening their belts.
Each year we resolve to start our Christmas shopping earlier rather than leaving it until the last minute. But the reality is, despite our best intentions, many of us are still out shopping on Christmas Eve.
The experience of the past few years means that many of us will be operating on a tighter budget than usual, so it's more important than ever to get a plan of action in place.
Whatever timescale or budget you are working with, it pays to adopt a more savvy approach to your festive shopping. Here are some practical tips for getting the most out of your Christmas spending.
Brits are buying Christmas gifts earlier than ever to beat the credit crunch and bag a bargain but eight out of ten say they have less money to spend on Christmas this year.
Many cash-conscious shoppers are already cramming the stores in search of the perfect festive presents - but those leaving it till the last minute risk impulse buying or making concessions on how much they are prepared to spend.
Don't be fooled the retailers have not had the best of years and there will be good deals and special offers in the run-up to December 25th. Be prepared to shop around and take full advantage of reward schemes and discount vouchers.
When you're shopping for presents for friends and family, you can end up spending far more than you ever intended. Follow these shopping tips to prevent yourself from over-spending:
Shop in person with cash - Shopping online and paying with credit cards makes it easy to spend huge amounts without ever realising how much money is leaving your pocket. By shopping at a real store with cash, you'll be much more conscious of every penny you spend, resulting in fewer gift expenses.
Make a shopping list - Before shopping, make a list of everyone on your gift list, and next to their name put the maximum amount you want to spend on them. This way, as you're walking through shopping centres, you'll be able to easily budget and keep your shopping organised.
When cooking - The expenses associated with cooking for friends and family during the holiday season can quickly add up. To save money on food expenses, plan your meals before you buy groceries so you know exactly what ingredients you need. Also, by buying in bulk you can get great deals on the groceries you use most.
Having fun - Holiday fun can get expensive: from going out to dinner with visiting friends and family to going to Christmas shows and events, you'll be spending a lot. Try a few holiday activities that cost little or nothing yet still are extremely enjoyable such as Christmas carolling with friends, window shopping in beautifully decorated Christmas markets, ice-skating, competitive board games like Monopoly and Cranium, and volunteering with friends and family at the local homeless shelter are just a few ideas.
Shop online - You'll be cutting it close but there is still time to grab a bargain. Just be sure to follow the rules outlined above and you'll find you've even got extra to spend when the post Christmas sales come around.
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