Christmas is a fantastic time when you're a child, but for us adults it's actually the most stressful period of the year.
Then, as if that was not enough, just as we welcome in the New Year, we start to count the real financial cost of everything as the credit card statements begin to roll in.
It's estimated that the average UK adult spends £ 310 on gifts alone at Christmas and people in the 35- 44 age range spend £ 419. If you then add up the cost of food, taxi's, Christmas parties …. most of us will end up paying for christmas for the rest of the year!
So how can you lighten the load? Start by giving yourself a quick, pre-season Financial Detox. Your finances can take a real pounding over the season, so if you can minimize the stress in this area of your life, it will make all the other areas easier to manage.
So where do you start? You start by dividing your finances into manageable chunks.
o Know what you are spending ie make lists – don't just go out and buy!
o Get control of your "Cappuccino Factor"
o Know your monthly Cashflow
o Organize your debts
o Do a full Financial Detox in January
………. 5 Last Minute Xmas Saving Tips ……….
1. Choosing gifts
Use the internet for on-line shopping before you set off. You've still got time to get deliveries in before Christmas (unless you want a new Xbox 360 that is). You'll often find better prices on-line and it saves a lot of walking. It might also give you some extra ideas.
Why not find something that's different and unusual from somewhere outside of the mainstream shops. Often you'll find that those presents are more special and they don't have an automatic assumed price tag so it can look as if you've spent more.
2. Make a list
Before you launch into the massing throngs of Christmas shoppers, take some time to think about what you're planning to buy.
Write down everyone you need to buy for and decide what you're going to buy each person in advance of your shopping trip. Put as much detail as you can, including where you'll buy it from and how much it's likely to cost. Then add this all up and check it against the total amount you can afford to spend.
By doing this in advance, it allows you to set budgets for your spending and control your impulsive urges. As you shop, tick things off on your list and don't be tempted to buy extra, just because you've got a credit card.
3. Christmas (Credit) Cards
Check whether you have any points or vouchers you can redeem with your current credit cards / nectar cards or boots advantage cards. Also check whether your cards give you extra benefits like cashback or points when you're shopping. Some cards work better in certain shops than others – if you're spending money, make sure you're getting the most out of it.
4. Plan your food shopping
If you just walk into Sainsbury's with a big trolley and a vague idea that you want some food and drink for Christmas, you can easily find yourself coming out with two full trolleys and a £ 400 bill.
If you do a little simple planning in advance and figure out what you will actually eat (realistically) on each day over Christmas and then make a shopping list. The trick is to then stick to it and not be lured by extra mince pies!
For Christmas day itself, if yours is anything like most, you won't actually finish your Christmas dinner until for early evening, so a big evening meal won't be needed.
5. Three for the price of Two
Lots of stores are offering 3 for the price of 2 on Christmas presents this year, so make the most of it. With such a variety of gifts you should be able to buy something for everyone – and for every 2 you buy, the 3rd one comes free!
These Tips are provided by Financial Detox.