Anyone who knows me well will find this post quite shocking. Considering I don’t let anyone I know mention the C-word until the day after my birthday (us winter babies have to put certain rules in place to ensure some attention is given to us), they are going to find it hard to believe that I’m writing my first festive post of the year. However, there’s a good reason for it. Now is the perfect time to start planning for the festive season. We’ve all been there panicking come December about how much everything is going to cost us. And it’s not just the present side of it. It’s the travel should you be going to see family, the parties, the get-togethers. The lot.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year. But this year, I actually want to enjoy it, instead of feeling guilty at the money that I’m spending. I figured I couldn’t be the only one feeling this way. So if you too are worried about the pennies come Christmas, here are my tips to make you feel prepared for the festive season…
Financially planning for the festive season
01. Start the present list now. By no means, you do not need to buy presents now (unless you really want to. But part of the financial planning for the festive season is getting organised. So make your list of the people you want to treat this season. Family, friends, pets (your pet deserves a treat). Note them all down.
02. Out and about on the town. There are going to be so many events that you’re going to want to go to. There are the work dos, the squad get-togethers and the odd festive cocktail times. Now, the invites might have not come in now, but you’ll know the ones that come around like clockwork. So note them down now of the ones you know you’ll want to go to.
03. Budget time. Now is the painful part. How much do you want to pay for all of this? Set a gift amount now. Do not feel guilty about the amount. People who are stuck on an amount are not worth buying presents for. Anyone who truly loves you will just be happy to receive something special from you. Whilst you’re also thinking about the gift, set yourself a budget amount now for the outings you’re going to. How much do you really want to spend on cocktails and dinner with the girls? Finally, decorations. I am terrible for wanting to buy Christmas decorations every single year (hello White Company). Give yourself a budget for that now and work out your total amount.
04. Start saving. This is simple. Now you’ve got your spending amount. Start saving now. This is the key to planning for the festive season. From today, there are three Pay Days before Christmas. Use them wisely. Luckily, I have nothing happening in October, so I can make the most of saving as many pennies as I can. If you can even put £50.00 away each month, that’s £150.00 for presents already saved. Trust me, December-self will be thanking you.
05. Tick what you can off now. Now I know I said you didn’t have to buy presents now, but hear me out. You’ve got one annoying but brilliant holiday coming up where you can bag a bargain. And whilst I’m a little upset that Black Friday falls on my birthday this year (better than last year when it fell on a major American Holiday) it’s a brilliant opportunity to bag a bargain. There are a few presents we know we want to get family that we’re going to be buying on that day. The other thing to think about is travel. I’m pretty sure train tickets for that time of the year will be available now, so why not buy them now if you need them and save yourself a pretty penny.
One important thing to remember
The most important thing when planning for the festive season is to have fun. I know it seems boring now to start saving away now, but it will be worth it. The freedom you’ll feel when you can just pop over to have a drink with friends without worrying about the pennies is 100% worth it.
The other thing to remember is to protect you December Pay Day. Normally given before Christmas Eve, it makes January a five/ six week month for some people. You do not want to start 2019 with financial stress. Protect it now and you’ll be starting the month on a high. For me, I have FIVE family birthdays to buy for in January (thank you dad, grandma, aunty and husband!) I’m sticking to this plan and there will be no sad faces from me when I can’t buy any treats for myself in the Boxing Day sales. Because this year, I am going to treat myself.
What are your hint’s and tips for planning for the festive season?