Christmas savings. Piggy bank with Santa hatThere must be something in the December air that drives everyone crazy. Stress levels skyrocket, mums panic over kitchen dilemmas and toy stores become battlefields between hundreds of desperate parents.
While some families may be worried about a dodgy uncle or two joining their Christmas get-together, the majority of holiday stress is financial. In the hope that this article prevents a few more headless chickens running around the place, here are some basic budgeting tips that will reduce the Xmas anxiety.
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Set up an account - A great first step towards avoiding the festive blues is setting up a Christmas bank account. Just like you would when saving for any other holiday, put surplus income into a savings account so when it comes time to buy that Christmas turkey you have a nice tidy sum waiting for you. You can create this as early as you want but a couple of months out from the festivities is fine.
Ballpark budget - Spend an hour or so creating a budget for your Christmas expenditure. Estimate a ballpark figure of what you think you will spend and slap an extra two-hundred pounds on top so you are not left naked in the December snow in case it goes pear-shaped. Once you have a budget you can jot down a shopping list.
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Priorities - Do you have to buy everyone in your family a present? What about that dodgy uncle who drinks all the bubbly, do you have to get him one too? Priorities who you want to buy gifts for and if you forget someone important you always have that spare two-hundred to cover your embarrassment.
Resist your impulses - Retailers do the best to turn Christmas shopping into a marketing-smorgasbord. Do your best to avoid caving in to impulse-buying and stick to that budget!
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Conscription -You can't fund or organize Christmas by yourself and neither should you have to. Ask for help; enlist volunteers, delegate jobs and responsibilities to other family members. It's only fair. If you can let go of the joystick for some duties then you might have be able to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of bubbly for a moment. Doesn't that sound nice?