Yes, those are Santa’s gifts, but that’s your paycheck melting like ice cream under August’s sun (you just hated us for that figure of speech, watching the downpour outside your window!). But, seriously, how about you don’t end up broke before the clock strikes twelve this December 31st? Lately, “Tis the season to be jolly” awfully rhymes with “spending money” and it often seems there’s no way to escape the grasp of this ever-growing list of things to buy. So take a deep breath and read on, here are a few tips to make the holidays lighter on your pocket for a change!
- It all starts with setting a budget. Christmas is not just about buying gifts. From decorations to family activities, weekend getaways to going out with the expats that are spending a couple of weeks in Lebanon for the holidays, you are bound to spend more if you don’t foresee the expenses that await you. Figure out what areas won't swallow as much money this year. Will you get less expensive gifts? Will you go out less often? Would you rather get the kids their dream gifts or take them out more to enjoy the festive season’s activities?
- Remember how much you spent last year and keep a record of what you spend this year. Come next Christmas, this will help you get a clear vision of what lies ahead. You might think it won’t be a big deal to get some extra decoration, but you will most probably think back on it in March and deem this decision to be unwise. It is often the fact that we don’t remember what was looted from our bank account by Santa’s elves last year that makes us underestimate the hole we are about to dig in our account and its repercussions on the year to come.
- Do a little price Comparison. Don’t purchase a single thing until you have shopped around extensively. Little differences add up quite quickly and end up making a big difference. Keep this in mind and have a look around different shops before you start buying those gifts. This is also true when it comes to food. Regardless of whether you plan on shopping online or off, it pays to know your options.
- Shop Exclusively for Others. It’s hard not to give in to temptation when you spot something that you’d like to purchase for yourself. But if you’re on a tight budget, better avoid such a purchase. It’s also worth noting that come January, everything will be on sale. Can’t wait till then? There’s always that person that’s going to ask you what you want for Christmas; be honest for once.
- Cut down on food. Let go of the enormous turkey, fifteen trays of sweets and twelve different sorts of cheeses, you know in advance you’ll be stuck with leftovers for days and end up throwing most of it. So why bother? Follow a simple motto: “if it’s not eaten, then its place isn’t on this year’s menu”! If one kind of pie is enough, although you usually get three, then be it, one pie will suffice! Also, guests will totally understand if you don’t offer those Christmas themed sweets when they visit and if you stick to the usual chocolate and candies you offer all year long.
- Don’t fall for everything you see. TV, magazines, books, movies, they all throw at us picture perfect Christmases. But next time you catch yourself longingly thinking "Oh, wouldn't that just be great?", remember 15 holiday throw pillows might look great on a picture, but will ultimately make your journey to the couch a bit more difficult.
Now that financial hassle is out of the way, you can fully enjoy that well deserved rest and fun without worrying about the aftermath of all your spendings!