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<p>If you are worried about overspending this Christmas, our guide may help you stay on track and not get further into debt.</p>
If you wish to improve your chances of keeping your debts under control this Christmas, check out our four top tips:
1. Say no to impulse buying
We have all been guilty of buying an extra present for someone or spending more money than we planned on Christmas gifts, but now may be the time to start saying no to impulse buying. If you find yourself spending too much when you go Christmas shopping, why not write yourself a list of what you need to buy for each person and the budget you have for them? You could challenge yourself to find the best price for something by researching online before you hit the high street, rather than buying it in the first shop you come to.
The earlier you start your Christmas shopping the better as you will have more time to look around and might not feel panicked into buying something last minute because time is running out.
2. Bring socialising in-house
People love socialising around Christmas time, but this can often be expensive as some restaurants and bars put their prices up because of increased demand. If you are in debt, spending more money than you can afford on nights out could sink you further into debt and leave you feeling even more worried about your finances.
If you can, tell your friends that you need to keep a closer eye on your finances and can’t afford every night out or dinner they have planned. Real friends will understand and may even admit to being in the same position. You could suggest other things you could do together that don’t cost a lot of money. For example, you could hold Christmas movie nights in your home as there is always lots on TV in November/December. You could also go on a wintery walk or have a go at some Christmas crafts together.
3. Start sharing
If you would still like to go for a night out with friends but worry about how you will afford it, why don’t you suggest you drive and give everyone else a lift? You could suggest that your friends buy you a soft drink each to pay for you giving them a lift - you might not have to buy a drink all night!
Rather than buying a new dress or outfit for your work Christmas party, why not ask a sibling or friend if they have something you could borrow? You could offer to let them borrow one of your outfits in return. Sharing might end up being your route to saving this Christmas.
4. Be honest with your kids
If you have older children/teenagers living at home, you could try to be open about your money situation and admit that things are tight. Not being able to come to you for handouts might teach them important lessons about money.
If they want the latest computer console for Christmas, why not suggest they ask extended family to give them cash rather than presents for Christmas? They would be able to combine all the money they collect to buy it themselves, rather than you feeling under pressure to buy the console for them all on your own.
Giving Christmas presents isn’t a competition so don’t feel like you have to match £ for £ what other people give their children. You could search for bargains in shops, pick up things second hand or even have a go at making some presents.
by Shelley BowersBack to blog home