The light switch-on ceremonies have begun, the supermarkets and shops are decked out like winter wonderlands, and the tear jerking adverts are coming thick and fast between your favourite programmes. Yes, Christmas is almost here, and with it come all the usual pressures to make it the best ever for your family.
Here are some tips on how to have your dream Christmas, without leaving you out of pocket for 2014.
Whilst this pressure may really only exist in your head, everyone has an ideal Christmas which they aspire to, and why should that be out of reach? Here are some tips on how to have your dream Christmas, without leaving you out of pocket for 2014.
The first thing you need to do is make a realistic budget of how much you can afford to spend on Christmas. Put together a list of all your incomings and outgoings and see what, if any, surplus there is. To increase your budget you could try calling your energy suppliers to see if you have any credit that might be paid back to add to the kitty.
Christmas is also a great excuse for a clear out, and you can make some extra prezzie money by selling things you no longer need through eBay, Gumtree, your local paper or selling pages on social networking sites.
If you think you might need to borrow to manage this Christmas, then make sure you do so responsibly. Check out all your options, like increasing your overdraft and 0% credit cards, and work out what you can realistically pay back without breaking the bank. If you are unsure of your credit rating then companies like Credit Expert can help you find out what you might be able to apply for.
One way to save, whilst still giving great gifts and having a beautifully decorated home, is to get a bit crafty this Christmas. Try your hand at making decorations and gifts for family and friends.
Homemade décor is much cheaper than the ready-made stuff in shops, and gives that real homely feel that most covet as part of their dream Christmas.
Everything, from the tree decorations to the wreath on your front door, can be homemade with a few materials, a little time and some TLC. You can find loads of patterns and instructions online for making festive trinkets and gifts, as well as recipes for edible treats like fudge, which is always a good present choice for those with a sweet tooth!
There are of course limitations to what you can home make, and unless you have access to Santa’s workshop you will have to splash out on toys for the kids and something special for your partner.
Don’t wait until a week before Christmas to shop, as you will be tempted to panic buy gifts and spend far more than you actually need to. Make lists of what you definitely want to get and shop around online and on the high street to find the best deals and prices.
A lot of companies also have voucher codes or offers that you can find by digging around on the Internet or asking about promotions in stores.
Imagine your dream Christmas, and then think about how you can make that dream a reality this year. Budget well, and you can deck the halls with all your homemade goodies to give your family the best Christmas yet, without having to feel the strain for months afterwards.