We all want to enjoy the festive season fully but sometimes finances hinder us from achieving this. It’s also easy to get caught up in the spending cycle as marketing campaigns are geared towards making you open your wallet in the spirit of Christmas. However, if you’ve got a plan in place and know how to stretch each holiday shilling, you don’t have to fear the January blues. Here are money-saving tips to help you get through this season financially unscathed.
Plan early: By now you should be aware of where you want to spend your holiday and with whom. Start planning on the travelling costs plus the amount you need to spend. The number of people who will accompany you will determine the amount of money you will use. If you opine it is going to be beyond your budget, then look for alternative ways of spending the holidays.
Shop early: A budget is the most important document you need to have when preparing for any activity with financial implications. Come up with a budget and make sure you buy and book everything early enough as this will help you avoid last minute rush and high prices. If it is Christmas clothes for your children, be sure to shop early this month and not wait until it is too close to Christmas, as prices of goods will have been hiked.
Cut back on your daily spending: You have already determined how much you need to cover your expenses for the upcoming holiday. Possibly, the figure could be higher than for other months and it is understandable. Examine your daily expenditure and establish what you can forgo to allow you to cater for the cost of emerging expenses. In future, have a special account where you can be saving money specifically for the holidays.
Bargain: Negotiation is the lifeblood of any business and in this case travel industry. Its products are time-sensitive: a room left empty one night or an airline seat that isn’t filled can’t be resold the next day. So, if you are booking at the last minute, bargain especially when dealing with tour operators, travel agents and hotels. If you are flying, go for cheap flights plus book off-peak hours.
Go for cheaper traditions: Traditions make holidays special but they can be expensive. If your holiday tradition includes travelling, paying for a special attraction, or surprising your kids with extravagant gifts, you might find yourself going over your budget. There are so many activities that are inexpensive, or even free that you can opt for. For instance, you can decide to visit your folks upcountry, or visit other members of the extended family. By making cheaper events and traditions part of your celebration, you can save money without skimping on the festivities and memories.
Make a list of people you want to gift: Have a list of people you want to buy a gift for, how much each gift will cost and whether your budget will be able to support it. If you are not in a position to meet this budget, you can either cut down on the list or go for thoughtful, inexpensive gifts.
Look for extra cash: You are going to spend more money this month than you have spent in the other months of the year. Considering your income is still the same, you need to find extra sources of income to help you finance your holiday spending. You can do this by working overtime, providing professional services or even selling household items that you no longer use. This will help you not to interfere with your monthly budget.
Set realistic expectations: Let your family know ahead of time that times are tough and that you have to cut back on spending. Place emphasis on spending quality time together rather than on material goods.
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