A month today is Christmas Eve ... how is that possible?
We are 11 months into the year and the children are keen to believe that the elves have been working hard all year, although I am still unsure as to how this actually works when the children only seem to write their lists in the last few weeks but I suppose that is all part of the magic isn't it?
For many parents Christmas can be a mix of emotions from the excitement of sharing Christmas with the children to the stress of actually affording to pay for the gifts and festivities.
So how do you afford a magical and (financially) stress free Christmas? Here are our top tips.
Make a list and check it twice.
Having a plan is my top tip! This includes creating a list of everyone you need to buy for and setting a budget. You then know what you need and then don't deviate from it! If you can agree present budgets with friends and family that is even better because no one likes feeling awkward when your gift is significantly more expensive (or cheaper) than theirs.
Budget, budget, budget
I am not talking about finding a way to make your pay packet last all the way through December and I know it is easy to say now we are in November but putting away a little bit of money every month can make life a lot easier when it comes to present buying at Christmas time. I am acutely aware that a lot of families don't always have disposable income to put £50 in the savings account every month, especially when you get requests for school trips or the children need new shoes but there is always an option of playing a couple of pounds with games online. I was asked by Lottoland to take a look at their site and as I am usually a bit cynical about the lottery, I wanted to take a look. The interesting part is that you are not actually purchasing a lottery ticket, instead, you are betting on the outcome of the lottery. This was a totally new concept for me as it is a form of betting that gives you the opportunity to play along and bet on lotteries that are not normally accessible to us. There is the EuroMillions, Irish Lottery and Powerball which is the American lottery which had the £1 billion jackpot ealier this year! So even if you played this for £1 a week, the chances of adding more pennies to your Christmas savings pot definitely has better odds than sitting in your piggy bank.
Christmas shopping may be fun but it’s a lot more interesting and a lot less stressful when you don’t have to battle the crowds. Most people now shop online in order to obtain bargain prices on gifts but that’s not the only thing that can be purchased online. Stocking up on your entire Christmas food order online and having it delivered will definitely help eliminate the stress of Christmas supermarket shopping.
Give an IOU to your other half or best friend
Instead of paying December prices, offer to take your partner or best friend shopping in the January sales. It means that you get a day out together at a fraction of the pre-Christmas cost. This is an especially good idea if you wanted to buy a joint present for the house (this does not mean a vacuum, in case my husband is reading this!!)
Whatever you are buying, make sure that you are getting cashback whether this is through an online site (there are so many to choose from) or with your own bank account. It makes total sense toget cashback on the gifts you are buying and you can start to put this into your 2017 Christmas fund!
What are your top tips on affording Christmas?