The wintery chill, Christmas lights, festive cheer and excitement are infectious, as is the splurging we do during the festive season. Between entertaining friends and family, making the most of the festive sales, booking an impromptu holiday and going all-out to bring in Christmas and bid the year farewell, your bank balance is likely to suffer silently.
To ensure that come January 1st you’re not reeling in despair, take a look at how you can maximise your money and spend smartly this holiday season.
Create A Budget
As all things related to money go, it’s best that you start with creating a budget first. This may seem tedious, but it’s truly the simplest way to ensure you don’t get carried away. Plan how you’ll spend your money too, be it throwing a house party, shopping for presents during Christmas, or booking a getaway to the hills to welcome 2019. Don’t forget to factor in the small expenses either, be it your annual donation to charity or shopping for yourself. This way, you’ll know how far and wide to spread your shopping net.
Don’t Leave Things To The Last Minute
Christmas decorations, home décor and little knickknacks are notorious for becoming more and more expensive as you inch closer to the big day. So, get a head start on your festive season prep as soon as possible. Not only will it be a smoother, more pleasant process, but it will also ensure that you’re not spending an exorbitant amount. The same rule applies to presents as well. The earlier you shop, the more time you have to be able to browse multiple stores and websites, and make sure you get the item for the best price.
Use Your Credit Card With Care
If you’re getting an excellent deal on a flat-screen TV that your home desperately needs, make the most of it and pay via your credit card. This is a good example of how a credit card can be of use this festive season. However, don’t be tempted to put every expense on your credit card, with the thought that you’ll deal with it in January. This will land you in serious trouble come 2019 and leave you with a whopping bill to take care of, not to mention a case of the holiday blues!
Approach Sales With Your Wits About You
Sales are a double-edged sword. On one hand they can make your festive spending more affordable, and in the process make your money last longer. But on the other hand, there’s always the temptation of buying things that you don’t quite need just because they are on sale. As long as you’re on the right side of the fence and don’t let temptation override reason, you can use the discounts, deals and offers to shop smart and save more.
Use What You Already Own
You don’t always have to spend a lot to have fun. Try focussing on the festive spirit and spending time with your friends and family instead and implement smart hacks to reduce your expenditure. This will free up your budget and give you a little wiggle room for other big expenses this December.
For example, instead of buying a new set of Christmas decorations, use last year’s. Also look at crafty projects you can take on this time of year to save money without compromising on the festive spirit. For example, when it comes to entertaining, you can host a potluck instead of springing for a catered dinner or co-host with a friend or family member to slash the cost.
These are simple things you can do to make the festive season more intimate and memorable without draining your savings. Best of all, if you want to get a head start on next year, here’s a handy tip: start a separate savings account and put in a little each month. By December 2019, you’ll have ample money to spend without having to cut corners!
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.
BankBazaar.com is a leading online marketplace in India that helps consumers compare and apply for credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan, and insurance.