After today, there are only 12 Saturdays left until Christmas. Scary thought right? I’m definitely not ready to leave the longer days and weekend golf behind yet!
This got me thinking that there actually only 3 paychecks left until Christmas is upon us…. very scary considering how much that time of year costs!
Prepare to Save… Save to Prepare
Back in January I started thinking ahead of how we could make the next Christmas a little bit more efficient than the last. Given that last year was our first Christmas in our new house (we were in Thailand getting married the year before) we had a lot of ‘1-time’ expenses; A Christmas tree, decorations, lights etc. Some careful packing and organisation has ensured that this can all be easily utilised again this year. We even went as far as to categorise what is in each box!
Probably the biggest of all expenses at Christmas are the presents! I must admit I always fail in this category and ‘being sensible’ doesn’t resonate to well with me. I tend to buy presents for people that suit them… regardless of the price tag. I’m not a ridiculous shopped by any means, but sometimes an estimated budget can be blown out the water. After all, what is the point of buying someone a present for the sake of it? Furthermore, presents are not just for birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries – presents are also for ‘just coz’!
We will of course be savvy in what we buy. All presents will be researched and purchased in advance – taking full advantage of any discount codes or cash back available – planning is the key to success in this area!
Seasonal Food is EXPENSIVE!
In our household, food is definitely the next biggest expense. The Christmas seasonal snacks, nibbles, tapas, drinks etc. cost a small fortune. We have actually been preparing for our Christmas shop since January – our supermarket clubcard points have been accumulating over the last 9 months and we will have over £100 in vouchers reserved and waiting! Given that we will likely have a lot of family staying over the festive period, we have also been stockpiling alcohol since the summer. Saving back a bottle of wine a week will mean that we have to buy a minimal amount of booze on our Christmas shop!
Shops also love to pump up the food prices in the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas day…. we will be freezing bits and pieces long before December is upon us!
Anticipating the Cold Nights
Finally, with more time being spent in the house and more rooms in use; naturally the heating and electric bills will go up. We currently pay a monthly sum by direct debit towards our quarterly bill. I’m a big fan of slightly overpaying through the summer to ensure that we don’t get stung with an extra few hundred quid on our winter bill. If you can average out the annual cost of utilities, you can spread the payments evenly!
How are YOU preparing financially for Christmas?