Tips to Avoid a Financial Disaster during Christmas
Posted on 29/11/2017
 

Christmas is right around the corner and it won’t be long before the streets will be decorated with Christmas lights, Christmas trees will start popping up by apartment windows, and nostalgic Christmas songs will constantly be playing on the radio. 

The holiday season known for giving and sharing is a splendid joyous time for all involved; children look forward to Santa Claus delivering gifts on Christmas eve, adults look forward to spending time with their families and friends, and expats come to Lebanon on holiday to see their loved ones.  It is unfortunate though that this joyous season tends to break the pocket by pushing people over their financial limits.  However, that doesn’t have to be the case. We have provided you with 8 tips to help you enjoy the festive season without causing major financial distress to your bank account.

1. Budget, budget, budget!
People tend to think that budgeting means being stingy and not enjoying life. That is not true.  A budget simply is a plan that shows you how much you earn, where you must spend it, and where you would like to spend it. Therefore, placing a budget does not constrain you from spending but is a plan that gives you the confidence and knowledge to spend on things you would like without going into debt.  Plan your budget ahead of the season and find out how much you can actually spend.

2. Make a list.
List everyone you intend to buy for and re-examine that list to see if you can exclude anyone.  Then budget a reasonable amount you can afford to spend on each person.  Having a budget per gift is not only great for your pocket but will also make shopping for the gift easier.

3. Pay off your credit cards quickly
The holiday season is the time when people use their credit cards the most; we suggest you use it wisely. Prior to going shopping, try to ensure that you pay off the credit card balance.  You can then use your credit card for your purchases to take advantage of credit card deals and to collect points.  If you have already collected loyalty points, consider cashing them out for Christmas expenditures.

4. Avoid shopping at the last minute.
Don’t be that person who is at the mall the last few days before Christmas.  Shopping malls are dreadfully busy then which can cause shopping fever, which gets you to shop more than you should, or it would make you want to get out of the mall ASAP, causing you to buy the first thing you see whether it fits your budget or not. Make sure that you have a list of gifts you are planning to purchase before heading to the mall so that you have a clear focus and don’t waste time browsing and getting urges to buy unwanted things.

5. Do your research
If you have a present in mind, shop around ahead of time and compare prices, both online and in stores. Keep an eye out for discount and promotional offers.  If you decide to shop online, be careful.  You might find a great deal but don’t forget to take delivery charges into account and make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery.

6. Monitor & track your expenses.
Keep an eye on your spending to see whether or not you are keeping to your budget.  This way, if you’re not then you can see where you are overspending and figure out what to do about it.

7. Share the feasts
Everyone loves spending time with family and friends but do so wisely.  Share the load on wine and cheese nights and during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts. If everyone is responsibly for bringing a dish or something to drink, not only will you save on the costs but as well save on the stress of meal preparations.

8. Give from the heart
Having to go to visits to wish friends and family a holiday Christmas can be a costly affair.  Instead of heading to a patisserie and splurging on sweets to take with you, consider baking a homemade cake or tart or other kind of dessert at home that you can take to those visits.

It’s only natural to feel euphoric during the festive season and that’s how it should be, but beware of emotional spending during the holidays that can push you over your financial limits.

We hope our tips will help you emerge from the holidays financially merrier!

 

Rita Makhoul, Rampurple 

 

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