Spring might be in the air but it’s never too early to start preparing for the festive season. After all, it creeps up quickly every year, which means preparation is the key to making the most of Christmas and the New Year.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, there’s no getting away from the fact that the festive season can put a dent in your wallet. From treating yourself to new decorations and buying presents for loved ones to preparing a sumptuous meal and inviting friends for pre-Christmas drinks, there are lots of expenses you’ll want to prepare for.
To ensure you can enjoy your dream festive celebrations this year, take a look at these top tips now and start saving for Christmas 2021:
1. Set Financial Goals
We’d all like to have a bit more money in the bank, but how much will you need to really enjoy the festive season? Until you know what your financial goals are, you can implement a workable plan to achieve them, which is why it’s important to sit down and calculate what you’re likely to spend.
Don’t be tempted to make assumptions or pluck figures out of the air. Instead, get online and start researching the costs you’re likely to incur. This will help you to determine exactly how much you need to enjoy a great Christmas and will give you a financial goal to work towards.
Once you know how much your Christmas is likely to cost, you can break this down into monthly savings goals and begin putting your plans into action.
2. Identify Ways to Reduce the Cost of Christmas
Although Christmas can be expensive, there are ways you can reduce your costs. If you enjoy taking your family to Christmas attractions, for example, booking early can drastically reduce entrance fees. Alternatively, you might find that buying an annual pass to year-round attractions is more cost-effective. By starting to plan for the festive season now, you can ensure that you get the most out of annual passes too.
Similarly, many supermarkets and grocery stores offer savings plans that can be a great way to budget for Christmas. As well as encouraging you to put some money aside for your festive food shopping, these plans can also give you access to great deals and prime delivery slots, so be sure to compare each one to find the scheme that best meets your needs.
3. Factor in Other Financial Priorities
As much as we’d love for Christmas to be our only priority, there will be other things you need to fund throughout the year. Living expenses, like mortgage payments, rent, food and utilities are, of course, essential, while entertainment, leisure and subscriptions shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re planning on making any major changes, like moving to a new house or starting a new job, this will also need to be factored into your plans.
However, this doesn’t need to be as complicated as it sounds. By using a mortgage calculator, you can determine what your monthly repayments are likely to be if you move to a new home while reassessing your household budget could help you to reduce your regular outgoings. With a few minor tweaks to your expenditure, you can reduce the amount you spend every month, enjoy a little more disposable income or stash some extra savings away in time for Christmas.
4. Find Low-Cost Festive Activities
A great way to make your Christmas budget stretch a little further is to find free and low-cost festive activities for you and your family to enjoy. Going to see the town’s Christmas lights being switched on, taking a winter walk through the snow or even having a virtual meet-up with long-distance friends and family can be fabulous festive traditions to enjoy without spending anything.
Younger children will love making Christmas cards and decorations, which can be a wonderful low-cost activity to enjoy. Alternatively, tots, tweens and teens will all appreciate a family Christmas movie night, so you won’t have to spend much keeping them entertained in the run-up to Christmas.
5. Set Up a Dedicated Christmas Account
If you try and keep your Christmas savings mixed in with other funds, it can be hard to keep track of how much you’ve acquired. What’s more – it’s easy to inadvertently dip into your festive savings if they aren’t placed into a designated account.
Luckily, it’s easy to open a straightforward savings account, that you can use solely for your Christmas plans. Whether you stick with your existing bank or building society or open an account with a new company, you’ll find it easier to monitor your savings when you have a separate Christmas account.
6. Cut Your Expenditure
If you want to go all out for Christmas 2021, reducing your expenses throughout the year can be a savvy way to ensure you’ve got some extra funds to set aside for the festive period. By looking at your current household budget and deciding what costs can be eliminated or reduced, you’ll be surprised at how much you can save.
You may have unused memberships or subscriptions that can be cancelled, for example. Alternatively, you might find it’s better value to use a family subscription, rather than individual ones. Similarly, switching to a new utility provider or finding a better mortgage rate could free up a significant amount of cash throughout the year. From giving up a monthly luxury to reducing your weekly grocery spend, there are endless ways you can reduce your outgoings so that you can hit your Christmas savings goals.
Preparing for Christmas 2021
If you weren’t able to spend last Christmas with your loved ones, there’s no doubt you’ll want to make up for it this year. With a little extra preparation, you can ensure that your Christmas budget allows you to truly embrace the festive season. Whether you’re staying at home or planning a festive getaway, Christmas 2021 can be the best yet, providing you start saving now.