Easy Ways to Make Christmas 2016 More Affordable

In under three weeks time, the festive season will be upon us again! But although it’s a time of joy and giving, it can also be a time of financial stress. Having to pay for gifts, decorations and food can be a huge hit to your bank account over Christmas if you're not properly prepared. You'll never be able to get away with cutting spending completely, but there are ways you can still make it magical without totally blowing the budget. Here are just a few of the ways you can save some cash.

Budget Carefully
Creating a budget as early on as possible is always advisable. This gives you more time to save or purchase things, meaning you spread the cost more. Always pay your regular monthly household bills first before considering extras like Christmas, which will avoid you getting into trouble with money in the new year. Work out what's left after bills, and use this. Set a budget for gifts for each person, Christmas food shopping and decorations. Don't forget all of the extra things like wrapping paper, cards, stamps and other essentials too. You could cut out luxuries in the run up to the festive season to free up some extra money. You could create a savings jar for things like loose change and throw in whatever you can afford. A budgeting app can be helpful and will show you exactly how to divide up your money, without having to work out complicated sums.

Finance Your Shopping
The cost of Christmas is rising. When expensive gadgets like smartphones, tablets, computers and high end cameras are the kind of thing that feature on many of our Christmas lists- you might not be able to buy everything on the spot. To help spread out the cost into manageable payments you could consider financing some of the more expensive items. Places like gadget shops will often have finance plans so it's something you could enquire about. Another option you could consider is a cash loan. It can cover your costs instantly, but you’ll need to pay it back quick. It’s useful for situations where you need to get shopping done but won’t be able to pay it all till next payday. There are many sites to get money instantly, such as CashFloat online loans. Always carefully consider financing options, work out your expenditures so you know exactly how much you can afford to borrow and repay. But providing they're used correctly, they can be a great way to make Christmas amazing while still keeping your finances healthy.

Make a Big Deal Out of Stockings
Instead of tonnes of expensive gifts, you could make a big part of Christmas day about stockings. This allows you to purchase lots of smaller, inexpensive items and put together something with love but without spending too much. eBay is an absolute treasure trove of goodies and is so perfect for things like stocking fillers. Items from sellers in Asia are usually cheap as chips, and while they take a while to arrive, you still have time if you order now. Personalised items, costume jewellery, fluffy socks and novelty items are all the kinds of things that are perfect for stockings or cheap gifts. Places like Primark and even pound shops are also worth a look. I wrote a post here about stocking fillers which might give you some ideas. Keep an eye out for sales too where you could snag some items without spending much. With Black Friday becoming more and more of a big deal here in the UK, loads of shops get on board so have look if there's anything suitable.

Reuse Old Decorations
When it comes to decorating your house, you don’t need to spend a lot on new decorations! Looked after well, Christmas decorations will last a really long time. And actually, it's quite nice bringing out the same ones each year for sentimental purposes. Instead of choosing a whole new colour scheme each year and buying all new decorations to match, buy one new special tree decoration each year. You could write the year on the back and in the future you'll have all of these memories to look back on. Supermarkets often do really pretty ones for just a few pounds that you could check out when you're doing your weekly shop. If you're a creative kind of person, you could even make some decorations, Pinterest is full of inspiration for this. Just be sure that anything you make is fully sealed in a waterproof coating to protect it from damage, or even pests over the years. If you invest in LED fairy lights, you won't even need to keep replacing these every year. Unlike regular ones they last for absolutely ages.

Are you shopping for Christmas yet?

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