It’s Midsummer. Time to start planning for Christmas?!
Can you believe it’s midsummer already? 2021 is turning out to be another very strange year. But it seems to be racing by all the same.
Which means that it is now only 6 months to Christmas! Sorry to mention that, but bear with us. Christmas 2020 was such a disappointment to so many people. And whilst it is still difficult to plan ahead, we’re all hoping for better times at Christmas 2021.
So why not make 2021 the year when you start getting organised for Christmas super early? So that, whatever happens nearer the time, you will be ready.
There are three things that we reckon you can start doing right now:
- Make a budget for Christmas
- Start saving money for Christmas
- Start Christmas shopping
Let’s look at ways that you can do each of these.
Make a budget for Christmas
This is really important. Many of us get into debt around Christmas because we spend far too much money. That then has a knock-on effect throughout the year. We’re probably just getting sorted by the time the following Christmas comes round, and we’re back to square one again. It can all get very stressful; and if you are worrying about money all the time this can prevent you from enjoying Christmas the way you want to.
So it’s time to change all that!
The first thing to do is to sit down and make a list of everything you spend money on for Christmas. Include absolutely everything: gifts, cards, decorations, food and drink. Also think about the social side of Christmas that we will hopefully be able to enjoy this year: trips, visiting family and friends, Christmas parties, meals out etc.
Work out how much you think you will need to spend on each of the above and add up the total cost. This is the amount of money that you need to set aside by Christmas 2021.
This may come as a shock, as it is likely to be more than you had realised. Which means you either need to plan how to get the money together, or you need to look at ways of reducing your spending.
But the important thing is that you know what you have to do, and still have plenty of time to sort it out. That is much better than drifting through Christmas, not checking what you are spending, and ending up in serious debt in January 2022.
Start saving money for Christmas
So you now know how much money you need. But where are you going to find it? It may seem daunting, but if you don’t start getting money together now, it won’t magically appear at Christmas.
Probably the easiest way to start doing this is to divide the money you need by the time remaining between now and Christmas. According to Money Saving Expert, an average family Christmas costs around £800. So if this was your budget, and you wanted to spread the cost over the 6 months between July and December, you would need to set aside £125 each month towards Christmas.
If you don’t have this kind of money to save, take a look at our recent article Fun ways your family can save money this spring. Try as many different ways to make extra money as you can. It may not be easy, but if you keep focussed on your goal of having a wonderful Christmas, this can help to motivate you.
Make sure you put your Christmas money somewhere different from your normal money. Otherwise it can just end up getting used for day to day expenses. So it’s a good idea to set up a separate bank or savings account just for this purpose. This is also an easy way to see your savings begin to grow and work out how much more you still need to add.
Start Christmas shopping
As well as saving money, it’s a good idea to start spending some. Yes, start Christmas shopping! This may feel weird in the middle of summer, but the sooner you start, the better.
There are many advantages to starting your Christmas shopping early. For example:
- You have plenty of time to think of appropriate gifts and research the best prices for them. This may include buying them new unused goods from private sellers on sites such as eBay. It is much better to buy gifts this way rather than rush round at the last minute, grabbing any vaguely suitable gift, probably at an inflated price.
- You can keep track of what you are spending more easily if you buy gifts one at a time. Use the money from your Christmas fund, and keep a record of what you are spending. Be very careful not to overspend: remember that you will need to keep some of the fund for Christmas itself – food, drink, socialising etc.
- You will be able to relax more in December. Your shopping will be done, there will be no last minute panics or dashes to the shops, and you won’t miss the last posting dates. You can even wrap things as you go, if you want to, to save having to do it all at once later. (You can buy Christmas wrapping paper online all year round). You can sit back and enjoy the festive season for once. Job done!
So sit down and make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for, together with any ideas of what they may like. You also have time to play detective and try and find out from them the kind of gifts that would delight them. And because you’re starting so early, no-one will suspect!
We hope that the above tips help you get started on planning and saving for Christmas 2021.
If looking at your finances makes you realise that you need a bit of a financial boost, remember that Loans 2 Go offers flexible short term loans of between £250 and £3,000, repayable over 18 or 24 months. So do get in touch with us if you need some help.
Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.