1. Make a list & check it twice.
Don’t be that person who saunters into town or Mahon Point on Christmas Eve with a dozen presents to get. Firstly, you’ll end up buying rubbish presents, and secondly, you’ll end up spending a small fortune. Spend some time making a list of who you want to buy for. Be realistic with your budget and identify a few possible options for each person. Then all you have to do is make sure you stick to your list and budget. Shop around by comparing prices online and in shops around Cork and don’t be afraid to haggle with local shops.
2. Avoid all types of hangover.
Christmas is a time of year where we all overdo it a little bit so try to take it handy on the food, drink and spending and you’ll be grateful in January. In particular we’d recommend a sensible approach to spending over the festive period – nobody benefits from a dirty debt hangover in the New Year. Prioritise spending quality time with family and friends rather than spending lots of money on things, be it food, drink or gifts. If you do need to borrow make sure it’s only for a small amount and get a saving plan in place for next year! Keep away from the credit cards and moneylenders and be sensible with your money – if you have to borrow do so at a reasonable interest rate with repayments that suit.
3. Start a Secret Santy.
Setting expectations can be useful at Christmastime. Obviously there’s a different set of rules for the kids but managing expectations as to what Santa can or can’t deliver on is most helpful, especially when the Christmas list is 53 pages long. For adults – be it family, colleagues or groups of friends – “Secret Santy” is a great idea to help save on costs and avoid buying a dozen different presents – plus you’ll end up getting one good present rather than loads of Lynx Shower Kits/Candles/Socks etc.
4. Save yourself for the sales.
It’s madness to splash out on lots of clothes in the run up to Christmas when prices will tumble on Stephen’s day and all throughout January. Think of how sick you’ll be when you see that jacket you bought at half price a few weeks later! You can also pick up lots of winter clothes for next year at knock-down prices in the sales as well as all the Christmas decorations and wrapping paper you could ever dream about, helping you to cover the cost of Christmas 2016 already!
5. Start saving for next year.
As we mentioned already if you can avoid taking on debt to pay for Christmas then you should. Lots of members of The Lough Credit Union save a small amount every week over the course of the year to help cushion the December blow, so once January comes think about how much you’d be willing to save every week to make next year more manageable – €20 per week would leave you with around €1000 for next year!
Most importantly, be safe, merry and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!