Ah, money talk.
The dreaded topic and the ensuing panic of making your money last right through the Christmas period is upon us.
Money talk, budgeting, smart spending are all anxiety-inducing topics at any time of the year but particularly during the chaotic weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s a time when spending drastically increases without the income increasing to match it. This holiday season our goal is to shake those anxieties, get comfortable with money talk and stride confidently through December, safe in the knowledge that our finances are in check.
In an ideal world, we would have all been organised in setting aside a Christmas savings fund but alas here we are, December has hit and we’ve done no such organising. It’s no wonder that panic sets in at the thought of affording gifts for friends and family as well as the numerous Christmas outings all in one financial sitting. But that’s ok. You will be able to afford it. You will avoid as much money anxiety as possible by employing a few tips, tricks and tweaks to your money mindset along the way.
Here at The Style Edit, we’re certainly not money experts and should you require further information on this topic we do recommend you seek advice from a financial expert. What we can offer, however are tried and tested money-saving techniques that we’ve found help to ease money stresses and may be particularly helpful at this time of year.
Set your budget
Seems obvious, right? And yet, we’re all to familiar with the Christmas gift buying phenomenon that takes over the nation very quickly. Personally, I take a lot of pride in gift giving which in turn often leads to over-extending my financial reach. This year, I have specific saving goals in place which has definitely helped in sticking to my gifting budget.
When setting your own festive budget, start by making a list of everything you’ll need to spend money on this month. Include everything from wrapping paper to the gifts themselves plus any social spending. Don’t forget to factor in delivery charges if you plan to shop online for gifts. Then, beside each item make a note of how much you intend to spend on them. Easy.
Once you’ve established your budget, this next part is key.
STICK TO IT.
Like everything in life, every time you’re tempted to stray from your budget, remind yourself of your why. In this case that’s why you set that budget in the first place. Maybe you’re pursuing certain savings goals or this year you’re working on your money mindset and you know spending more than a particular amount of money will cause you to feel anxious and stressed in the long run.
Don’t pressure yourself to stick to your budget down to the very last penny, just be mindful of the consequences that extravagant, impulse purchases may have on your finances at this time of year.
Download saving apps
I recently stared using money saving app, Chip to keep little stashes of savings separate to my main savings account. The idea is that you link it up to your online banking, give it a week to assess your spending habits and from there it’s able to calculate small savings you can afford to make and with your permission, transfers it from your bank account to your Chip money bank. At first, I was nervous but having done my research, it’s all very legit with links to most major banks, a cute little bot that chats you through everything and not only does the app alert you to saving opportunities but it also gives you two days to cancel the transfer. It’s a much slower way of building your savings but as an app designed to make saving easier and less of a burden, the small amounts go in its favour. By transferring small amounts at a time, it’s mostly money you don’t miss.
As this time of year that little pot of money could cover your petrol costs, a night out with friends or help make Boxing Day sales shopping guilt free.
Check you subscriptions
On the back of saving money you won’t miss, edit your spending and take note of all current subscriptions. This is the automated money that you’re losing each month that you don’t always know is gone but would definitely notice if it stayed. Automated subscriptions like gym memberships or music services are some of the more discreet ways we’re losing money each month. If these are subscriptions you no longer use, it’s worth checking if you can cancel or freeze them. That way you can add the extra cash to your Christmas savings fund.
Embrace Secret Santa
Secret Santa among friends and family is a great way to soften the blow of spending on gifts. With family in particular, it allows you to focus on one person, getting them a gift you know they’ll really appreciate as opposed to compromising on the quality of everyone’s gifts for the sake of receiving more.
The list of gift buying seems to grow and grow as the month goes on – teachers, parents, in-laws, best friends, parents of best friends – and before you know it you’ve blown your entire pay cheque for the month and you still have New Year’s Eve and Boxing Day celebrations to get through.
Christmas is about having fun and enjoying the company of your loved ones. Don’t let money stress get in the way of that.