Back in 1972, The Peppermint Candy Kids released a track called 'All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.' If only everyone we knew wished for something as simple as their teeth to be waiting for them under the tree on Christmas morning.
But alas, everyone wants noise cancelling headphones, designer bags and a U-turn from Brexit. So if you’re hoping to have a generous Christmas but you're not too sure your bank balance will stretch till the end of the year, then have a look at our 5 tips for Christmas budgeting.
Be lazy- use an app
Look, you’ve got shit to do, parties to attend, Christmas film marathons to watch, so do you really have the time to work out your own budget? Erm, no. If you want to make a budget really fast and get on with enjoying the festivities, then download an app like Loot. It lets you create weekly budgets so you can keep track of your spending and you get instant transaction notifications so you can’t pull the whole ‘forgot-I-just-bought-myself-a-present-instead-oops’ trick. You can download the app now or find out more information here.
Rewire your psychology
Christmas is a dangerous time because you can excuse any behaviour with the following phrase: ‘fuck it, it’s Christmas’. Whilst almost all of your great festive stories will begin this way, financially it’s going to end pretty tragically for you. So when your mate randomly asks you to come out for 'one drink' just say no because it's never one drink and you've got several Christmas soirées already penciled in, soooo...
The festive period is full of spontaneity from kisses under the mistletoe and seconds (thirds and fourths) at the dinner table. But if you want to make sure your money stretches, you need to plan; plan who you're buying for, what you're buying and how much you're willing to spend. This way you can get all the shopping done with less stress and hopefully take advantage of any discount deals. And also, know when to stop. Put your credit card away till next year and save yourself the pain of being financially crippled at the start of 2018.
It’s hard to have any self-control in December because well, fuck it, it’s Christmas. But if you can’t afford to buy your sister a Vivienne Westwood bag this year, then she ain’t getting it. If you can’t afford to go out for cocktails with the girls, then decline. Christmas need not be stressful so if you can alleviate any of that stress by being a bit tighter with your money then you should do it. Try to stick to invite-only events, and say no to impulsive drinks after work and hangover takeaways.
For a lot of people, Christmas isn't full of glad tidings and merry wishes. If you don't have much to give financially, then give your time to help other people. From volunteering at a local soup kitchen to chatting to grandma about the free-loving 60's, often just being present means more to others than cash donations. Acknowledge how lucky you are and pay it forward.