Yep, we said the C word. Breathe.
Sure, it feels like last Christmas was a heartbeat ago, but believe it or not, we’re just weeks away from doing it all again. Yikes! But panic not. You’ve got plenty of time to start getting things organized, and we’ve got six handy tips to help you get your Christmas finances in order ahead of time. Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re experiencing a cost of living crisis like no other. Inflation is rising, supply chain disruptions are impacting stock levels, and wages aren’t keeping up with the costs of groceries, fuel and housing. If you’re concerned about how you’ll afford the holidays this year, start the conversation with friends and family about how you can collectively make it more affordable. You could ditch individual gifts and do a Secret Santa or Kris Kringle exchange instead, or each bring a plate of food to share the financial load on the day. Chances are, they’re feeling the same way.
List out all your gift recipients and start making notes about things they might like. Tuning in your awareness to your recipients’ interests earlier on can make Christmas shopping an absolute breeze. Plus, there’s nothing better than giving them something they mentioned they wanted months ago! Make your list, assign a budget for each person, and then start adding in notes and ideas over time. Then, by the time you’re ready to shop, you’ve already got a bunch of ideas together to take the stress away!
PocketSmith tip: when you start buying your Christmas gifts, store all your receipts within PocketSmith using the Attachments feature. If you need to return something, you’ve got your proof of purchase to hand!
If you have friends or family that you exchange gifts with, don’t forget to start thinking about your own wishlist, too. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a running list of things you want and need — it makes for much more purposeful gifting and makes other people’s Xmas shopping substantially easier!
When you collate an intentional wishlist, you can save yourself money and wastage by leveraging gifting as an opportunity to get things you would’ve bought anyway. Think of your favorite skincare, kitchen appliances, or books you’ve had your eye on.
Once you’ve started to get your gifting ideas organized, you can start thinking about how to save for Christmas. A sinking fund allows you to save up some cash towards an upcoming expense so that when it rolls around, you’re prepared and ready to go.
To set up your Christmas sinking fund, start by listing out all the expenses you’ll expect to incur throughout the holiday season. Include as many things as you can, from gifts to food to the cost of an Uber home from your work Christmas party. Looking back on last year’s expenses can help you out here. Then, divide it by the number of weeks from now until Christmas, and start stashing a weekly contribution towards the cost of Christmas. You can use your PocketSmith dashboard to manage your progress towards your Christmas sinking fund goal!
The holiday season offers ample opportunities for celebration and indulgence, and so it can be valuable to taper back your lifestyle for a few weeks prior. Whether you cut out takeaway for a few weeks or switch up your regular brunch for a home-cooked feed, small tweaks can help you stash a little extra cash over time. By the time the holidays roll around, you’ll have a little extra freedom in your budget to enjoy an extra mulled wine with pals, blow out for NYE, or treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on.
When you start planning for Christmas early on, you can take advantage of sales events to get your gifts at a discount. Look ahead to any sales events that might be coming up between now and Christmas — like Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and set alerts or reminders for opportunities to save big. Google Shopping can even alert you to a price drop on something you’ve got your eye on!
Know someone who loves personal finance or has been wanting to take control of their money? A PocketSmith subscription makes a great Christmas gift idea!
Emma Edwards is a finance copywriter and blogger, on a mission to humanize the financial services industry by creating meaningful content that’s accessible and empowering. You’ll find her penning money tips at her blog, The Broke Generation, sharing financial insights on Instagram, or injecting life into content for her business clients.