Image courtesy of Craig D
Image courtesy of Craig D
Christmas can seem to creep up on us each year and if you do not plan well it can be rather overwhelming. Not just is the whole exercise of planning and shopping difficult for many people but the cost can be really hard as well. Therefore it can be wise to make sure that you start doing everything really early.

Make a List
Lists are a great way to plan. However, you need to make sure that you put the list somewhere that you will be able to easily remember and make sure that it is a useful one. It is wise to consider where you are spending Christmas and whether you have to buy for that. Consider travel costs, extra gifts or perhaps the costs for you to entertain such as food and decorations. Also consider the cost of cards, gifts and wrapping, plus any postage you will need to pay for. Make a list of exactly who you will be buying for as well as any other things you will need to pay for as well.

Set a Budget
It can be tempting to start your budget by deciding how much you will spend on each person or item. However, it can be better to do things in reverse. Work out how much money you can afford to spend in total and then divide that by the number of things you need to pay for. This can be very enlightening as you could find that you normally spend a lot more money than you can afford. It is lovely being able to spoil people with gifts and there are some people who feel that they can show others how much they care for them by giving them gifts. However, it is really important to remember that no one would want you to struggle financially just to buy them a gift, especially if they really care about you. If you plan well ahead, you have plenty of time to select gifts which may look expensive but did not cost that much.

Save Money Each Month
It is wise to put by some money each month towards Christmas. Some people do this by saving in specific schemes where they can then spend what they have saved at the end of the year. It can be better to use a savings account instead as you will not be limited on where you can spend the money and you may get a better return on it as well. It is worth comparing them to find out.

Add on a Contingency
It is well worth making sure that you save more money than you calculated you needed. There is often a few extra things that you need to spend money on that you did not account for. Rather than having to borrow money on the credit card to pay for them, it is a wise idea to save the money up and then you will not have to pay interest on it. If you do not end up having to spend it then you will have something ready for the following Christmas.