It has been a scorcher of a summer, with many places in the UK and Europe experiencing record-shattering heat. But summer is finally and mercifully drawing to a close and before you know it Christmas will be here. Yes, Christmas. With the weather still on the warm side you may feel it’s entirely too early to start thinking about that, but it is never too early. And for families who are facing financial difficulties, particularly those that have small children (with all of their childish expectations), it’s especially important to start planning for Christmas now.
Actually some experts advise planning for Christmas at the beginning of the year, immediately after the holiday season. Granted, many people are in a financial squeeze at that time and have no desire to look ahead to yet another spending spree. But if you start planning early and plan smart, you’re much less likely to get yourself mired in holiday debt. And spreading the cost of Christmas across the entire year instead of over a few weeks puts much less of a strain on your finances.
But we’re long past January now. No worries, you still time to plan and save. Start by making a budget, even if the prospect seems distasteful to you. Then make a commitment to stick to it. Your budget should be based upon what you can realistically afford without skimping on necessities in order to fund the holidays – and without going too deeply into debt. Give yourself a little bit of slack but don’t go too far over budget or you will have defeated your purpose.Read More