#CountdownToChristmas: 10 ways to NOT go broke this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. While many are scrambling to decorate and ‘spruce up’, the festive season is a time when many people go overboard with spending.

With all the new and exciting items that are displayed online and in shop windows at this time, it can get really overwhelming, especially if you’re not financially strategic with your spending.

But not to worry, OBSERVER ONLINE has curated some tips to help keep you debt-free when 2023 rolls around.

1. Take advantage of deals and sales

One thing that you can expect for the holiday season is a SALE. Some of your favourite stores will definitely introduce ‘holiday deals’ to attract more purchases. Look out for them! Ensure you are following the social media pages of your preferred outlets where these ads are usually shared, so you can get a jump on purchasing gadgets, bed linen, curtains and decorations to make your home festive for Christmas, while you save them coins.

2. Track your spending

We tend to go overboard with everything during Christmas. Though we want to spread joy and cheer to everyone we love and cherish, you have to keep a close eye on your spending. Make a list, do research to ascertain prices as best as possible, and then STICK TO THE LIST! Do not stray, stay focused.

3. Have a budget and stick to it

Have an overall budget of how much money you plan to spend for the holiday season. Make it as detailed as possible and leave nothing out, no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem. Include detailed items list and the associated costs for gifts (including the wrapping paper and cost for delivery where necessary), any new clothes or shoes that may be needed, and the food for the Christmas feast; including the number of people that will be catered for.

4. Re-use curtains and bed linens instead of buying new ones

The curtain set and bed linens you bought last Christmas, and the Christmas before that are still usable! Take them out, sis. Wash them with fabric softener and reuse them to save some money. You can rotate them so your home décor does not exactly match last year’s but still generates the desired cosy and welcoming effect of the Christmas season.

5. Do a gift exchange/ secret Santa/Pixie

Instead of wondering what cost-efficient gift to get each member of your family, do a gift exchange or secret Santa where each member of the family gets a gift for the person whose name they picked. This way, everyone gets a gift and you don’t go broke before January begins. Because let’s be honest, Bridget sandals, Clarke’s shoes and those brand-name colognes add up.

6. Take advantage of credit card and supermarket rewards system

Many banks and supermarkets have rewards and cash-back systems that you would have probably signed up for. Well, this is the time to take advantage of these while doing your Christmas shopping. This will help to lower the cost of your Christmas budget, allowing you to purchase that one item you thought you were not going to afford this year.

7. Online shopping is also the way to go

When shopping online this holiday season, try to combine items on sites to benefit from discounts. Utilise discount codes from your favourite influencers as well for more shopping pleasure at a low cost. Also, order early to ensure that your packages arrive without delays or issues. But remember to be mindful of the cost to clear packages so that you do not go over the Christmas budget.

8. Get creative and make a gift

There are those of us who do not have the financial freedom to buy gifts this Christmas, so this is the time to tap into that creative side and make sentimental gifts for loved ones. Make them as meaningful and as memorable as possible because it is the thought that counts after all.

9. Plan before you spend

When you are spending this holiday season, have a game plan for when you are shopping online or in person. This will help to keep you focused, especially when you know exactly where to go and what you want. By doing this, it lowers the chance of getting distracted by the many items that will be on display, and the questions of ‘I wonder how this would look in my living room’. Stay focused!

10. Shop early

And for Christmas 2023, start planning gift ideas and household items that you think will be needed for the holiday season. Where possible, buy these items so that purchases are spread out over the year and are not solely dependent on the November/December salaries. This will lower the pressure that is usually placed on the holiday period and will free your mind to actually enjoy the time with family and friends, without the credit card debt.

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