No, No, No, Christmas is coming.

I can’t believe I’m going to use the C-word this early. I hate Christmas creep. All I want for Christmas booming out on the radio in October is just a scary reminder of how few paychecks are left before Christmas . Yet it isn’t about early celebration, it’s about preparation. There are some things you can do NOW to reduce financial and other stresses for the big day. And that’s what matters most.

christmas-debt

Its no surprise that the purse feels a little light in January, the average Brit now spends £753 on Christmas and the funny thing, It’s not an unexpected expenditure.

So as of this last weekend the calendar ticked under 100 days to go, here’s my checklist of things you can do now to help make your Christmas a little less of a financial burden.

Not saved for it? Do it now – so you can split the cost.

As mentioned above the typical British family spends about £750 on Christmas. For most, that’s totally unsustainable from one month’s income.
So if you haven’t put anything aside yet, do it now, there’s still time.

Agree now with friends, family and colleagues to BAN unnecessary Christmas gifts.

I’ve been asking friends and family to do this for years, it may seem mean but we all have a secret broom cupboard full of unwanted gifts, that could be money in your pocket.

In a nutshell, many feel pressured to buy gifts for an extended list of friends, family and colleagues, often panicking, “I’ve got to get ’em something, anything” – even if they won’t want it. This tit-for-tat giving means we end up with tat.

Even ‘the joy of giving’ can be selfish as it obligates someone to buy back for you – even if they can’t afford it. The best gift may be releasing someone from the obligation of buying you something. Or at least cap the cost with a Secret Santa – then if you want to give more, donate to charity.

christmas gifts

Set up a Christmas stash, then POUNCE when things are cheapest.

Prices fluctuate (just look at online price tracker CamelCamelCamel to see this on Amazon). Your aim, wherever you shop, should be to buy things on your Christmas list (yes, do have a list) whenever it is at its cheapest.

So get a cupboard ready, and once you buy something, you can wrap it, tag it, and store it all ready.

To find the best prices make sure you monitor this blog and check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Get to know and love AliExpress;- 60p iPhone case, 22p belt and more…

Rock-bottom prices INCLUDING delivery are possible on sites such as AliExpress, but you’ll need to order early. You’ll need to keep your wits about you to avoid unexpected customs charges and shoddy goods – for this reason we think it’s best to stick to items under £15, especially if your buying something as a gift.

Don’t put pressure on yourself trying to plan the perfect Christmas.

That’s a dangerous mindset. Instead first work out your budget, and let your financial situation rule. Then ask yourself: “What’s the best Christmas I can have on the money I’ve got?” Remember it is just one day. Far better to have a slightly less expensive Christmas than a financially frantic New Year.

DON’T borrow for Christmas… but if you will (don’t) then ensure it’s at 0%.

Borrowing for Christmas is a bad idea – DON’T DO IT. Far better to cut your cloth accordingly. Yet if you won’t listen and will do it anyway (DON’T), at least keep it cheap. That means a 0% card, where done right there is no cost (did I mention – best not to do this).

Normally with 0% cards the advice is to plan to clear the debt or do a balance transfer before the 0% ends – or the rate jumps to the rep APR. Yet for Christmas borrowing, make sure you clear it well before next Christmas or you’ll just compound your problems (or better still, don’t do it).

 

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Get a FREE letter from Santa.

What ever you call him. He is part of the magic of Christmas. Farther Christmas is probably your child’s favourite person at this time of year so why not help make it feel a little more special.

santa

As parents, trying to plan the perfect Christmas, getting  something for FREE to put a smile on your little ones face sounds like a great deal to me so why not take advantage of this great offer and get a FREE letter from Santa curtesy of The Royal Mail.

Royal Mail

So for the price of a stamp, ok its not completely free,The Royal Mail elves are helping Father Christmas this year by delivering children’s letters to him. It’s not just a one way communication method though.

Get your children to sit down and write their very own letter listing all the things that they would like for Christmas and make sure you send it to the following address.

Send your letters to:

Santa/Father Christmas
Santa’s Grotto
Reindeerland
XM4 5HQ

Remember to include your full name and address so he can write back.

Make sure you send any letters before 9 December 2016 so Father Christmas has a chance to reply. I’ve been made aware that Father Christmas is also able to rely in braille or large print, if this is of use to your child but make sure you let the elves know.

Portable North Pole

If you’d prefer a video then you have options too.

While it hasn’t launched this season as yet, the Portable North Pole gives you a personalised video for free. There are paid options but you don’t need to do them to get the full magic.

We’ve used them for years and it really makes it feel that Christmas has started early.

Happy Christmas 🙂