Christmas is one of those times of year where sensible people do some silly things. We might have been good all year when it comes to our health, diet or money, but then the jingle bells come on the radio and the streets are decorated with magic, and we forget everything and overindulge!
When it comes to your money, this time of year is all about being organised. Start by looking back on your goals for 2018: what did you want to make happen this year when you started out in January?
If you’ve achieved what you set out to do, then give yourself a big pat on the back, that’s worth celebrating, that’s important. If you haven’t achieved your goals yet – life gets in the way sometimes – then don’t give yourself a hard time, just think about what needs to happen now to get you moving towards them. The year’s not over yet!
If we let our inhibitions go and spend a little (or a lot) too much over Christmas, then it can take us a long time to recover. We can spend far quicker than we can repay our debts, just like we can consume calories quicker on a night out than we burn off in a gym session! It doesn’t usually take just a few weeks in January to make up for an extravagant December; it can take us a good few months, which means you could be writing off the whole of Q1 2019 just to get back to where you are now. Is it worth it?
I believe giving is living, it’s part of our human nature to see joy on someone’s face when we give them a gift and make them happy, however having an enjoyable Christmas doesn’t come from judging it on the size of our gifts or how much we spend. Instead, we need to judge it on how much fun we can have. Your children won’t remember all the gifts they receive, but they will remember the fun you have, the games you play and the family traditions you enjoy.With your children perhaps limit your children’s gifting to – something they want, something they need, something they could wear, something they would read?
Above all else, don’t spend what you don’t have: do not use credit cards to buy gifts and think ‘I’ll worry about that in January’. It will just put you in a worse position in 2019. Set a budget for your remaining shopping and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.