I love Christmas. It’s the one time of year when we’re guaranteed to get together with our family and friends. We buy and exchange gifts, we eat far more than we should and we have a really lovely time.
However, not so many years ago I used to dread the Christmas period. We got into debt for presents year after year we would even miss paying bills the month or so after so that we could spend more. After all the festivities were over I would dread the bills coming in and even have to admit that I didn’t open a letter or two. We were in a bad way with our debts, and by the looks of things we weren’t alone. Santander recently carried out a survey and found that 26 per cent of households don’t read their utility bills properly and over a million households don’t open their bills at all! This is scary reading. How can you be in control of your finances if you bury your head in the sand? – The simple truth, you can’t. But with a 1/2/3 Current Account from Santander you could reduce your bills by up to 3%. Meaning you are in better control of your finances and better off in the long run.
- Remember Christmas is just one day
- Pay your bills – don’t miss payments to fund a lascivious day
- Don’t ignore the problem – it won’t go away
- Open your bills – you don’t know what you’re dealing with if you don’t
- Ask for help if you are struggling
Christmas doesn’t have to be an expensive affair, it’s as expensive as you make it and after all it’s the thought that counts. If you can’t afford big expensive gifts don’t buy them. A few tips for a cheaper Christmas include:
- Set a budget and stick to it
- Don’t buy for the sake of buying it, if your children already have something do they need it just because it’s a different colour
- Make a list of who you are buying for – if you have a large family suggest only buying for the children
- Buy things in advance – start shopping in the sales throughout the year
- Don’t go mad on food – buy a smaller turkey if you find that you’re throwing most of it away
- If the whole family is coming for dinner ask everyone to bring something with them, this will spread out the cost of the whole meal
- Shop around – prices differ from store to store and online sometimes you can drop on a real bargain
- Save your lose change in a jar – it’s amazing how quickly those spare pennies add up
- Don’t buy unnecessary items – do you need more lights? special themed toilet roll? etc etc
- Don’t leave Christmas lights on all the time, this will save you money on your energy bill
- Reuse decorations from last year – you don’t need to buy a new tree and all the trimmings every year
- Make your own gifts – get the kids involved it makes gifts to grandparents / relatives more personal – crafted and baked presents are always a great idea.
*REMEMBER* the importance of Christmas – spend time with those that you love, they wouldn’t want you getting into debt just to buy them a gift. They would much rather spend quality time with you and if they don’t then maybe they need a little nudge that Christmas isn’t about who can spend the most money.