Actually, why aim at just keeping to your budget? Why not aim to come in under it and save some money? Just imagine, starting 2019 with a relatively clean financial sheet… It’s not just a dream, you can make it happen if you put your mind to it.
First of all, work out how much you have to spend
Before you spend any money, spend some time with this handy budget calculator so that you know how much you have at your disposal and how its going to be divided up. Once you have this magic figure, you know what you’ll be working with, which makes staying within these bounds a lot easier.
Then you need to make a list
This list should include everyone you’re buying the presents for, as well as what you’re buying for them and how much each present should cost. Include every item, right down to the box of lebkuchen you usually give to your postie, as well as gift tags, wrapping paper, boxes and cards. Don’t forget food, drink and travel expenses either.
Start looking for ways to reduce the cost of everything on the list
If you find that you’re buying three or more people similar gifts, like toiletry sets, then look for three-for-two deals in larger chain stores. You could also, if you’re buying these gifts online, order them in one go so you’re saving something on the delivery fees.
Look for cashback offers
Some bank accounts offer cashback on purchases from selected retailers, so if you use online banking, have a look to see which offers you can activate. You might not get the cashback in your account until the following month; but every little helps, right?
Wait until the last minute to buy some presents
Most shops and online retailers start to reduce their prices in the last few shopping days before Christmas, so it can really pay to be patient and wait for those tags to appear! You need to choose the presents that you hold out for very carefully, though, as if you’re too late to get someone’s main present, your best-laid plans may backfire badly.
Think ahead to next Christmas
If you can go into next Christmas already slightly ahead then you’ll be, well, ahead! Don’t discard rolls of wrapping paper or any little gifts that didn’t make it to their recipients; keep hold of them and use them next year. Another good idea is to stock up on essentials like cards, gift tags and any craft supplies in the January sales so you don’t end up paying seasonal premiums.
When you’ve bought everything on your list, you’re done!
You’ve done all your sums and you know how much you can spend, so there’s no need to spend any more money once you’ve got everything you’ve budgeted for. It’s hard to resist the temptation to add just a few more little bits and pieces, but you must try, because the alternative is feeling poverty-stricken in January and February.