With Xmas only 9 weeks away, how do people ensure they don’t overspend at this time? Do you put so much away each pay day? Do you buy gifts during the year. Would be interested in your thoughts.
Because I get paid monthly, I put aside money each payday, and it doesn’t seem like a lot but it really builds up. Then in December I use it to pay for gifts, and the additional dining out and drinks that the silly season always brings. I’ve never been stressed over money at Christmas, thats the last thing you need with all the additional stress the holidays bring!
I do the same as yourself RC, put a little aside each fornight into an account and then use it as required. Not a fan of Xmas Clubs as you are tied in to their limitations and way over priced.
I like to buy gifts throughout the year to take the pressure off buying everything at once. I also keep a list of gift ideas for friends and family which I update when I think of ideas. Research for gifts online to get the best deal, fly buys is great for gifts too.
I buy gifts through the year when sales are on. Xmas paper and things are bought in the sales after xmas. And we also use chrisco. No gifts and no groceries to buy at christmas means more money for the extras that come with it- dining out, extra guests and the like
Samara it would be interesting to see your views on Chrisco. I have found their hampers and gift boxes way overpriced compared to if I was to buy these items myself. it is just the discipline of saving that can be the tricky part at the end of the day, (dont touch the money !!)
Having a limited gift pool - Taking time to plan - maybe Secret Santa. Last year we set a limit to the spend per gift per person, and conducted an online anonymous survey into what our family wanted - that was also under that amount. We got some interesting comments (as a recipient you needed to think about what you wanted), and the donors were able to focus our buying on what someone REALLY wanted, instead of what we thought they wanted or needed. And splitting it up amongst the family meant one or two big gifts per person instead of half a dozen little, pretty useless ones. It definitely felt like more value for our money, and was more personal and appreciated too.
I definitely try to start buying early - especially with two kids birthdays close to xmas. That goes for presents as well as food. I also like to ‘cash in’ extras around this time - any survey cash, power company points (brownie points - genesis), credit card points and fly buys. It makes them more like saving funds that you don’t even know are happening!
For our friends we have gradually moved towards making little gifts. People tend to like the personal touch. One friend makes amazing truffles, another has a killer fruit cake recipe and I tend to use my green fingers to grow pots of herbs. We still buy small pressies for the children, but start early in the year e.g. when crayola is on sale or a good deal on a favourite book or puzzle. Instead of buying wrapping paper this year we will use my daughter’s paintings from kindergarten…there are a lot!
Another thing I do, to make gift-giving easier, is to make homemade chocolate and fudge, and wrap in hand-decorated gift boxes (great way to get the kids involved). It’s cost effective, and there are some great recipes around.
Make a day of it at home (it’s much more fun than shopping for gifts!); the only thing we struggle with is fridge space, I’ve found it handy to have a mini fridge.
It also helps to make a list of recipients at the start, so you know how much you need to purchase. And I always make a few extra boxes just in case, for unexpected guests or people who surprise you with a thoughtful, unexpected gift (like our lovely new neighbours last year!)
I start purchasing grocery items in october to save the stress of huge grocery bills at christmas time ! with a large family and lots of friends that just drop in over this period it helps ! educating the family is the hardest bit !!
With school expenses as an added stress I make payments over the festive season so the children get what they need to start school with no stress fortnightly payments are a easy way of managing this
Purchase gifts for the family that encourage time together …one on one or family time…this is my mojo this year !
I find that making a list is always helpful. Start with the people that you would like to purchase gifts for. Write down a few ideas for each person. Go shopping on one day, and achieve that list (or as much as you can). Doing it as early as you can saves on overspending with stress spending closer to the time.
Grouping families together and purchasing a family activity gift. Movie tickets, board games etc.
For the people who you would like to purchase a gift for, but dont want to spend ALL your money (work collegues, neighbours etc). Get your bake on! Last year I made a delicious slice and put it in a container that can be used again! Handy! And the people who recieved it, LOVED IT!
I organise a Secret Santa with my extended family, with a limit on how much people can spend. It reduces the stress of buying Christmas presents for EVERYONE (nieces, nephews, grandparents…) and also reigns in those over the top gift givers who make you feel guilty It’s a great family tradition now, with Granddad disappearing to the shops and Santa appearing in his place!
Ive been single fulltime carer for over 7 years now after my first rough xmas I started getting xmas club to help with food an gifts an vouchers,I have 2 xmas clubs an this will help so much for xmas an the following few weeks
I love the idea of home made chocolates as gifts, but after attending a (free) demonstration on chocolate making, and checking out the prices at bin inn I actually came to the conclusion that it’s cheaper these days to just buy them sadly. Maybe if you acquire the moulds etc. and go with a cheaper chocolate?
Thanks for all the great ideas. I love the idea of putting something away each fortnight and also homemade gifts.
AC1, you’re right, there can be some great specials on goodies like chocolate around Christmas, which can certainly be cheaper than making them yourself! I think all up, it usually costs me around $120 for all the ingredients and packaging.
But the flip side is that this covers about 20 peoples worth of gifts, and has that thoughtful homemade touch. I can imagine some people might struggle to find the time though, it takes me most of a day to make them all!!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. New years resolutions are to be broken however I am really going to live by the ‘be good with money’ motto next year. After a hard year of being single mum on one income supporting a child while money is tight, I know I have to pull my belt in!
I don’t want to be short next year but at the same time don’t want to be seduced by the usual ‘get more debt’ around from consumers however good the offer is. This time next year I WILL have money to burn lol.