Silly Season Savings
The season to be jolly is upon us! It’s also the season where our bank balances wince at the prospect of being completely exhausted by the fun and frivolity that awaits, not to mention the endless list of gifts that need to be purchased for grandad and grandma, and mum and dad, and everyone in between.
Christmas is certainly one of the most wonderful times of the year, but it can create a headache when there is a budget involved. When juggling work, study and family, this stress can be compounded due to time poverty.
In the spirit of giving, we’ve come up with some useful money savers you can employ to have a very merry Christmas without the stresses that often go hand in hand with this holiday season.
Secret Santa: a fun and cost effective way to keep the costs down when it comes to gift giving is the ever-popular Secret Santa. Ideal for family events, work do’s, or an end of year hoorah with work or class mates, this favourite pastime takes the pressure off having to buy for everyone. Just pop everyone’s names in a hat and have each attendee pick a name out. They’re then responsible for buying a gift for that one individual. You can keep costs down further by capping the spend – this can also add a degree of comedy to the gift giving. And everyone needs a good laugh at the end of a long year.
Potluck: catering over Christmas time can come with a hefty price tag – particularly when it comes to preparing a full spread with all the delicious trimmings. The best solution in a hosting scenario is to introduce a Potluck theme. Invite your guests to demonstrate their culinary prowess and ask them to bring along a contribution to Christmas lunch or dinner in the form of a plate.
Befriend a budget: it’s easy to spend blindly and remain in denial until you get your bank statement, but good money management demands a strict budget. The fundamental principles of a great budget involve starting with your monthly income, adding up your monthly expenses, establishing your financial goals, identifying discretionary expenses, and making sure your outgoings are never greater than your incomings so you avoid going into the red. A budget is never fixed, it is always fluid, so be prepared to monitor and adjust your budget as necessary – Christmas is a perfect example of when you may need to adjust things.
Make use of student discounts: there are some great perks to being a student! Many of these come in the form of discounts. Keep your eyes peeled for the deals that you can cash in on – from food to activities, every saving counts. The same applies for scouting out the supermarket sales – and use those loyalty cards.
Happy holidays and a happy New Year!