We’re well aware that you probably don’t want us to mention the ‘C’ word just yet, but unfortunately, we feel we have to as it is important to us that we keep reminding people of the importance of saving in advance and not splashing the cash at the last minute.
You’ve probably gathered by now that we’re talking about Christmas. That time of year when everyone forgets about the all important rule of not spending what you haven’t got, and instead everyone starts putting everything on the plastic with a view to sorting the debt mess out in January.
With just over 90 days to go we would advise people to be making serious financial plans to ensure that the Christmas shopping period runs smoothly, and that excessive spending is avoided.
The best way to ensure that people spend within budget is to plan ahead, people should now be making lists of the people that they wish to buy for, how much they wish to spend on these people and then putting this money either to one side, or in a separate account. This way people know that they can afford the gifts and the chances of going over budget are next to none.
The people that fail to plan ahead and leave shopping to the last minute will absolutely blow more than they can afford – preparation is key.
More and more people are starting to see Christmas as the ‘stressful’ time of year, when really it should be the most joyous. Christmas, by its very nature, should be the happiest time in the calendar whereby families can come together and enjoy one another’s company, but instead figures every new year are showing a rise of people who have not enjoyed the festive period because they have been sat fearing the credit card bill landing on the floor.
The thing is, the above scenario is completely avoidable if people are prepared and have some self-restraint and control. Putting money away now will mean you don’t even have to dig the credit card out as money will have already been saved up. Once that money has gone, that’s it, nobody gets anything extra. Unfortunately, as a nation, we have become obsessed with having the latest gadgets and showering our families with gifts that are all paid for on the credit card – but it is this behaviour that is turning a great time of year into a miserable one.
Charities and debt counselling services completely agree with our warnings and mindset as they too reveal that the numbers of people approaching them for help in the new year has been hitting record levels for the last four years.
We believe that if people put away around £7 per week, from this week, that would easily cover the cost of the majority of presents and luxuries including the trimmings for the Christmas dinner. This will only work, however, if people appreciate that they can’t be spending thousands on presents.
People need to understand that the key to a happy Christmas is not the expense or the amount of presents bought, but more importantly the time that is spent enjoying the occasion with friends and family.
We really don’t want to be here in the new year writing another article detailing how more people than ever before have got themselves into debt over the Christmas period, instead we want to be giving people some good news for a change. Unfortunately, however, in the times that we live in and the attitude to money that people seem to be adopting these days, we think the latter scenario is highly unlikely.