Ward off the January money blues by being smart this Christmas

But the festive season doesn’t have to be a money drain and there are indeed ways to save money this Christmas.

So put down that extra turkey you think you may need and return the pool of fairy lights you just had to have. We’ll show you how to do Christmas the right way this year.

Jessica Woodruff, content marketing manager at Shiftone Advertising, has some smart money-saving tips for Christmas.

Make a list

If you only buy what you need, shopping doesn’t have to be expensive. Create a shopping list with items that you need (such as a gift per person), instead of items that you want. This helps you avoid impulse purchases and keep track of your budget and the cost of each item.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa doesn’t have to be just for the office. As a family you can decide on a budget that you are all comfortable spending and then each draw a name from a hat. They can add a couple of hobbies and interests to help make the Secret Santa process easier. This way everyone will get a gift that they will definitely like.

Shop online

Instead of trudging to every mall in your area in search of the perfect gift and at the right price, shop online and let your gifts come to you. This will also save you plenty of money on petrol and parking tickets, not to mention less frustration over battling the Christmas mall crowds.

Give gifts of service

The ballpark for a gift of service is endless but usually revolves around acts of kindness to others. This could include mowing the lawn for your elderly parents, helping around the house, running an errand for a friend or family member or cooking dinner for someone when you know they have been run off their feet and just need a bit of a break.

Don’t overbuy food

We often think that Christmas is the time of year where we fling all our diets out the window and eat as much as we like. While this may be true, we are often left with more food than we need and give large amounts of it away with departing Christmas guests.

Be smart with your Christmas lunch choices this year and cater how you normally would for a dinner with a specified amount of guests.

Start shopping now

There is no time like the present. Start shopping now so that you can spread out your budget over two or three salary months. This way, all purchases are quite manageable and don’t have you gasping for air at the end of the festive season.

As you clink glasses to welcome in the New Year, be satisfied that you have made your budget work for you in the best way possible.

Give homemade gifts

Never underestimate the power of a well-thought-out and time-spent present. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that remind you of each other and not by how much they cost.

Share the cost

If you are playing host this Christmas, why not inform everyone of what they can bring? Nine times out of 10, guests are just waiting for you to let them know what you need help with. Don’t be shy to let some of your excellent cook friends know that you would be grateful for the help.

Remember, Christmas is about spending quality time with your loved ones. It is a time where you get to bring family and friends from far and wide together once a year. Make it a holiday to remember instead of a holiday you wish never happened (financially).

Ntombikayise Sibeko

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