Christmas is around the corner. It’s time to start getting everything ready: the lights, the tree, the Advent wreath, the candles… and our wallets! We’ve prepared a few useful tips for looking after our personal finances during Holiday season.
As autumn comes to an end, we start setting the scene for Christmas, unpacking age-old decorations, planning our days off, coming up with menus – not to mention thinking about what presents to give our nearest and dearest. If we can manage to do this while minding our financial health, we’ll be able to keep up our Christmas spirit and our savings all at once, especially in a year overshadowed by covid-19 and safety restrictions.
How to celebrate Christmas and save money?
Here’s a set of tips so we can make sure our wallet in good shape before and after the Holiday season:
- Draw up a budget
Budgeting a maximum amount of money to spend at Christmas is a good way to manage our finances. Being organized is very important. We can categorize expenses (e.g., presents, meals and travel) to have a clearer picture of how much we can spend on each item. Also, using a notebook, spreadsheet or mobile app can help us keep track of our spending.
- Shop early
With our list of needs and wants and a budget in hand, it’s time to shop. It’s never good to buy things in a rush; getting a head start will shield us from seasonally higher prices and spikes in demand while giving us more time to think about what and where to shop.
Since we should particularly avoid places that draw large crowds, staggering our shopping will help us fight the coronavirus pandemic.
- Research and compare
Comparing outlets’ prices can turn us on to sales and deals. By doing this simple act, we may just find where we can buy a product we want at a lower price. The same goes for online stores: a quick online search can help us pay less for goods and services.
- Payment methods
How we pay for purchases can affect our savings. If we choose to pay with a credit card, checking our account beforehand is important to avoid interest payments. Paying with a card can also afford us deals, benefits and discounts at outlets (we can consult our bank about this).
- Ask for receipts
When buying a Christmas present, we should ask for an itemized receipt to have a proof of purchase if we need to return or exchange it. We should also make sure the gift is in perfect condition and can be returned to avoid any inconvenience later.
A few more tips
This Christmas is going to be unlike any other we’ve spent before due to the global covid-19 pandemic and safety measures. Still, it may also be a good time to adopt new habits, like cutting back on petty expenses; buying energy-saving LED bulbs for Christmas lights; choosing Christmas decorations and presents that are made by hand or by charities and NGOs; opting for an easy, inexpensive Christmas dinner, baking our own Christmas cake or hosting a barbecue at home; thinking out original, simple presents, like piñatas; or even opening a savings bank account.
Don't forget that saving should be a yearlong mission. Now, go have a Merry Christmas!