There are many ways to save money if you are determined enough to look for practical solutions to your financial dilemmas. Even if Christmas is fast approaching, it is not an excuse to spend money like there is no tomorrow. Remember that whatever you swipe for now and in the next few days or weeks, you still have to pay for tomorrow. It’s not like your expenses will magically disappear because Santa Claus came to say hi during the holidays. It’s nice to give gifts and receive gifts in return but remember to spend only within your means. Do not try to impress other people and end up with a big stack of credit card bills come January. It’s not the right way to start the New Year.
You can be a little creative in trying to save money. Buying on sale is one thing and listing down all those people you have to give presents to can help you allocate your funds better. You won’t end up spending more for the gift of this person and much less on the other just because you forgot to include the latter on your list in the first place. Sticking to that budget is just as crucial too as you may easily lose track once you are out in the mall and end up buying more than what you intended. Hence as much as possible, try to pay with cash. It is easy to keep on swiping that card until you max it out when you do your Christmas shopping, so try to avoid that mistake as much as you can by ditching the plastic and paying with cash all the time.
“You can get some good deals online, especially if you have friends or family overseas,” Ms Loyez said. “Buying something online in the country you need to send it to is a lot cheaper than buying it where you are and then posting it.
“Take advantage of mid-season sales. There is always a July toy sale, even if it can be difficult to stay on top of what people are into by the time Christmas rolls around.”
Taking stock of some financial loose ends in the household budget can also offset upcoming expenditure.
“Combining home phone and broadband is an example of a small saving that can work. I have just done this and it means a saving of $30 a month, which could take care of a present,” Ms Loyez said.
If you think you’ve got your list figured out to a tee and there’s no other remedy there, try looking out of the box for other alternative money-saving tips in your daily life. Simple energy-saving measures that can reduce your monthly electrical costs or some adjustments in your usual grocery shopping are great ways to save money gradually and help cover for additional expenses incurred by your Christmas shopping. Do this as early as you can and if possible, all-year-round not only in an effort to save money but to help the environment as well. It’s the type of positive domino effect that the world needs the most now.
Don’t use credit
One common holiday shopping mistake is to put everything on the credit card given to you by your bank for those of us in Nigeria, especially the middle class. You can end up paying for Christmas for several months this way. People tend to overspend more when they use credit cards as well. Use your debit card or cash to purchase your Christmas gifts. If you plan carefull, you do not need to use credit to buy anything associated with the holidays. This is one gift you ought to give yourself.
Don’t buy to impress
It is tempting when you finally have some money to go out and buy extravagant gifts for everyone on your list. You may want to buy an extra nice gift for your parents or a close friend but try not to go overboard on everyone’s gift. Most people will prefer a well-thought out gift that matches their personality and interests to something you bought simply for how much it cost you. You should be able to see when you are crossing that line.
You don’t have to be rich in order to give the perfect presents to the people who mean a lot to you. Just being prepared for the coming holidays the soonest possible that you can is the best way you can face the coming Christmas season with the peace of mind knowing your loved ones will feel your love and affection for them through the gifts that you share without you necessarily going bankrupt and suffer financially once the New Year starts. Truly preparation is the key to be able to enjoy the holidays without suffering from the irreparable financial repercussions once the holiday is over.