Christmas is often a financially challenging time of year. Even when we plan not to go mad, there are unforeseen expenses and outgoings that are pretty much unavoidable and, if not careful, we can end the year struggling financially – for what is, in effect, just one day. (Although trying telling this to the supermarkets that have been stocking Christmas decorations and advent calendars since October…).
Presents are the most obvious outgoings and, while it’s the thought that counts (or at least, it should be) there is a lot of pressure – some of which we put upon ourselves – to up our game and make sure everyone we cares about knows that. Gifts are far from the only expense though. It’s a time of year when it’s somewhat of a tradition to overindulge in, well…everything. We eat more “because it’s Christmas.” We drink more “because it’s Christmas.” We go to more parties and social gatherings “because it’s Christmas.” And, of course, we need new outfits to wear to them “because it’s Christmas.” We also have more time away from work which frees us up to travel and socialise more, but this all comes at a cost.
There is light at the end of the chimney though, and there are ways to save money over Christmas – follow our top tips for enjoying Christmas without the worry of waking up to a financial hangover this Boxing Day.
If you can’t afford a certain lifestyle during the rest of the year, chances are that you can’t afford it over Christmas either. Set a budget and be realistic about it. If you are unsure where to begin, perhaps it’s a good time to talk to us about lifestyle financial planning.
Charity donations are subject to Gift Aid, if you are a UK taxpayer. This means that, with your consent, the Government will donate a further 25p for every £1 that you donate. Are you self-employed? Donating through your company can also be offset against your corporation tax bill.
Make your cash gift go further by investing it in a savings account. Money in an envelope, or on a gift card, will never accrue interest, whereas money in a savings account will. For young savers in particular, this can also be an effective way of teaching them about the value of money and helping them understand how it can grow.
If Christmas is going to hit you hard this year, acknowledge that. Don’t put your head in the sand until next year comes around and you are forced to worry again. Work out your Christmas budget, divide it by 12, and put this amount aside each month. This virtually guarantees that Christmas 2019 won’t bring quite the same headache.
Christmas may only come once a year but that’s all-the-more reason to enjoy it. Don’t ruin it worrying about your finances. For Christmas financial advice on savings and investments, please get in touch.
This article does not constitute financial advice and should not be construed as such.