Avoid that Christmas Financial Hangover
Yes, folks it’s that time of year again in which we will be expected to spend 20 million euros an hour on Christmas Eve in Ireland alone. Yep, that’s right, AN HOUR. Of course a substantial chunk of that will be on credit and many of us will be dreading our January credit card bills: I spent HOW MUCH. Ouch. So how can we enjoy Christmas without giving ourselves the January hangover? Here are some tips to ensure that January is not the cruelest credit card month for you.
- Make a list (check it twice if you want to). Decide who you are going to buy for and how much you are going to spend. Add it up and see if it’s an amount you can realistically afford. If not, review it. Make allowances for having to buy the guilt gifts…you know when someone (not on the list) buys you something…
- Do a blitz shop. Set aside a day to do as much of the shopping as possible and then aim to get 80% of the shopping done. Try not to let yourself get distracted by stuff you’d love to get for yourself. Set aside another time for that.
- Family Kris Kringle. For the last few years, we have decided to buy one other family member a gift and set a budget. We’ve also asked people for some ideas as to what they would like…3-5 if possible so that we are not frantically running around trying to think of something. See if you can do something like that in your family. Instant stress reduction.
- Use the Internet. Just think, you could sit at your PC and organise the direct delivery of a good load of your presents (and probably cheaper than the shops). Go for reliable websites like Amazon or Ebay if you still feel a bit mistrustful.
- Time instead of money. Why not offer to babysit for some of your overworked parent friends? An offer to babysit for half a day is priceless to working parents. Or offer to help someone with a task of their choice. (You could of course indicate that terms and conditions apply for that one!).
- Check out craft fairs. There is a craft fair to be found in practically every town in
Ireland and you can get interesting reasonably priced gifts that won’t be found in practically every stocking…
- Check your motivation. Quite often we find ourselves purchasing beyond our means because we feel guilty or we assume that people will think us mean rather than realistically assessing what we can afford and trusting that the people who truly care for us will respect that. And if you actually have the courage to say that you have a budget and wish to stick to it, it may very well give others the motivation to do the same thing. If money is something that causes you to have rows with your loved ones, surely a little financial discipline is a small price to pay.