Monday, January 18, 2021

Halloween Rots Teeth But Christmas Ruins Your Bank Balance.

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Money, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThySistas.comIt’s that time of year again…well, almost. Once the witches and ghouls come out to play and we share our thanks across a table stacked full of delicious treats, we all know what comes next, Christmas! There’s no escaping it, no avoiding it and let’s face it, Christmas can be incredibly expensive. If you have kids, the lists of toys and goodies that they want from Santa can stretch your budget to the very limit. It can reach the point where you think you’re just not going to be able to afford to keep them happy this year. On top of that, there’s the cost for food, travel and everything else that comes with the winter season. So, let’s look at some of the costs and think about how to make sure you will definitely be able to afford to pay for St Nicks shopping cart.

Can You Budget Christmas?

You can. First, you need to decide how much you’re going to spend on each of the people in your life for presents. Let’s be conservative and say two hundred each. So, now you need to factor in how much you are going to raise in total. Then, divide it by the number of months that are left before Christmas arrives. Right now, that’s two, not counting December. Ideally, you want everything out of the way and sorted before December, otherwise, it can start to feel like a mad rush to the finish line.

So, two months and if you have four people to buy for, that means you’re going to need to save at least four hundred per month. On top of that, you need to think about the food budget, the tree and anything else you buy at Christmas. The bills are adding up now, but you might find that by tightening your belt, you can fit it all into your monthly budget. If you can’t then there are other options to consider that we will discuss. For now, though, let’s assume the budget is working out nicely. The trick to making sure you have the cash at end of each month is taking it out early. Each week, put a little aside. That way, you won’t be tricked into thinking you have more to spend through the month than you actually do.

Once you have budgeted Christmas, you shouldn’t have any issues paying for it this year. As we’ve mentioned before, the key is to start early. If you’re smart, you can start buying small presents in July and even get decorations in the sales. That’s going to make things a lot easier for you in the long run. Of course, that doesn’t help you if you haven’t started buying already and it doesn’t fit into your budget. So, let’s look at some other options.

Wait For The Sales

A little risky because there’s no guarantee that what you need to buy is going to end up in the Black Friday Sales that are scheduled for the end of November annually. You can find them everywhere online as well as on the high street. In recent years, the November sales have been criticised in the media for being dangerous and attracting mob crowds. However, there’s no denying that they do lead to great deals, often on popular items that are sure to be on a few Christmas lists.

Black Friday isn’t the only time where you can hunt through the sales. The end of summer sales may still be going on in some places and there’s always ‘Cyber Monday.’ This falls directly after Black Friday and has recently grown to a whole week of sales.

You might not like the idea of leaving your Christmas shopping this late. It’s annoying waiting for a sale on a product that never arrives. However, it’s a darn sight more irritating, buying something only find it massively reduced months later. As such, buy a few of your presents early and leave some for the Friday sales. That way, you might just get lucky, obtaining the best of both worlds. Although, for those who want the freedom to buy whenever, there is an alternate option.

Borrow For Christmas, Pay In The New Year

Not everyone has the cash they need at the time that they need it. Not everyone’s bank account is going to be full in the run-up to Christmas, even with the possibility of Christmas bonuses. The answer to this issue is  to borrow money for Christmas and then pay it back after the festive season is over. What we’re looking at here is covering the money that you need when you can’t afford it and then paying it back when you can. If you look at info from Captain Cash, you’ll see that you can borrow close to a grand and then pay it back three months later which is fantastic. That’s more than enough time to save, and it takes the pressure off before Christmas. Of course, if you don’t fancy borrowing money, there’s another possibility. You need to do what you can to increase the size of your income.

Get Cash Fast

If you want to increase the size of your income, we’re probably not thinking about a promotion here. There’s just not enough time, and you shouldn’t even be thinking in terms of your main income. Instead, you should be looking at  a second source of income. Financial experts claim that to be financially stable these days, you need at least two sources of income. Now, since we’re low on time, the best tactic to approach is a side hustle.

It’s important to remember that a side hustle is just extra money because you would have been fine without it. As such, you don’t need to worry about using that cash to pay the bills or anything else. Instead, any and all the money you make can go directly towards Christmas. So, what freelance options could be available to you. Well, you might want to consider writing online. Online writing could be a fantastic way to get some extra cash in your pocket. Alternatively, you can look into filling in surveys online. There are various different sites that will pay you, simply for answering a few questions honestly.

Alternatively, you may want to consider investments. Perhaps, you have money in your accounts but not enough to pay for the Christmas wish list. Not to worry, you can invest the money you do have and hopefully over a month or so it might grow. Ideally, you should have started doing this at the beginning of the year, but there might be enough time to still grow a little Christmas fund. Of course, none of this will matter if other things are eating away at your bank balance. So, what financial fumbles affect us through the festive season.

Other Costs Through Christmas

The main cost through Christmas is definitely going to be the home heating bills. If you’re on a meter, you will usually find that the energy company charges a little more through the winter season. This is intended to ensure that you don’t spend more than you have because you need to use the heating more through the winter chill. However, if you are using more heating through winter, there’s a good chance it’s because your insulation is poor. But you can change that, and contrary to belief, it won’t require you spending a fortune. In fact, the simplest changes like putting up thicker curtains can make a significant difference as to whether your home stays warm or not as the case may be.

Another simple possibility is to make sure you are keeping all the doors shut. This will keep heat trapped in the room and avoid you needing to turn the temperature on the thermostat up to boiling point. If you have a smart meter, it might also be worth looking at what is costing you more energy in the home. By recognizing the heavier costs, you can cut them out completely keeping your house festive and cheap to maintain.

One thing that you definitely don’t want is to be caught off guard by an expensive bill. There are various examples of this though perhaps the biggest is a heating system failure where you need to replace your boiler. That could cost anything up to 10,000, and that’s an expense that will wipe out Christmas spending money, no matter what you do. What’s the answer here? Avoid this ever happening. Ideally, make sure you are checking your heater regularly using an expert service to ensure a serious issue isn’t on the horizon.

As you can see then, there are a few ways you can handle the costs of Christmas before they grow out of control. You can even get most of it done and dusted before kids have finished rotting their teeth on Halloween treats. All it takes is a little forward thinking and smart budget planning, and you’ll have no trouble keeping those costs in check.

Staff Writer; Paula Dole


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