Today we are blessed with a blog post from Paula Perry which will be really useful in the run up to Christmas. Yes we are acting like retailers and talking about Christmas at the beginning of September BUT for good reason! Paula set up an organisation called You 4 US to support families break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in the areas of emotional health, finance, social relationships and education. Paula runs workshops and shares videos and other content that aims to empower people with information that is easy to understand and apply.
In this post Paula Perry of You 4 Us has shared some tips to prevent January from being crippled by over zealous Christmas shopping.
We asked Paula to share some of her knowledge because she is a financial GANGSTA (caps necessary). Tamu met with Paula (so long ago its embarrassing) and interviewed her for our blog. Paula’s story is amazing, she has overcome a childhood which was impacted by circumstances that could make anyone believe that life is only darkness to becoming a financially savvy #mumboss on a mission to share her knowledge and empower others! Over to you Paula.
Wow! Where has the year gone? We have 4 months left until the end of 2017 and that time of the year where the manic Christmas spending starts! I recently read an article that stated ‘Nearly nine out of 10 people in the UK will wake up with a post-festive spending hangover in 2018, according to price comparison service uSwitch’.
The UK’s debt is currently at a record high according to the Bank of England and it’s predicted that almost 14 million Brits (27%) will put Christmas on their credit card this year.
Unfortunately, when the calendar turns to January, the negative effects of this spending begin to set in; higher than expected credit card statements, tighter finances than imagined, increased stress and regret over the amount of money spent.
Many of us feel the pressure at Christmas to spend beyond our means to show our kindness with presents for family and friends, but it’s time to think beyond the few days of unwrapping presents and focus on if we can afford to be in debt come January 2018?
I was once one of those excessive Christmas spenders, my tree would spill over into the centre of the living room packed with presents for my children and family. There is a major difference to the way I shop now at Christmas, by using the 7 tips below. Thinking about it now I remember the feeling of guilt as my tree looked bare with only a few presents but as the day passed very quickly and the New Year was soon to begin; my bank balance in January said “good for you Paula”!
Here are my 7 tips to avoid being bankrupt after Christmas:
1. Put the Credit Card Away. Avoid using credit cards to purchase ANY gifts, and if you have no other choice treat the credit card like cash do not spend more than you can afford to pay back within 1 payment cycle. This ensures that you pay back the credit card before you incur any interest or you could end up paying double, triple or even 10 times more for the items you purchased.
2. Be realistic with what you can give. Set a spending limit affordable to yourself, and then cap the amount for each gift. Having a budget for each present can provide you with clear direction on what you can afford to purchase, thoughtful ideas do not always need to be expensive. Try using the following to help you choosing an item; something they need, can read or wear!
3. Not Everyone! This one took me a long time to grasp but I’ve grown to love it. Wait for it…. Everyone Don’t Need A Gift! Yes I said it LOL! That may sound harsh at first but it’s the truth. Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself about what’s doable and what’s not. There are other ways to show your kindness other than with an expensive gift and I’m sure those who love you would understand. I started buying gifts for the whole family such as a board game, bring back family interaction!
4. Start purchasing gifts now. We are at the beginning of September, why wait until 23rd December to rush around with the crowds? This increases impulsive spending and you may go beyond your budget limit! Break down your budgets into a monthly spend and buy a few gifts each month. Use the opportunity to purchase from current sales like the end of summer or current deals.
5. Purchase gifts in the Boxing Day sales. We all like to have nice gifts for family and loved ones but could they wait until the 26th? As we all know most items go on sale the day after Christmas and could save you a huge packet, especially if you’re not going to see them on Christmas day! Honestly how many presents are opened on 25th December and semi forgotten about on the 26th? Don’t lie you’ve done it too, packed away that present in the cupboard as you have no use for it, whilst noticing last years in there also! LOL
6. Cutting back on the expensive gadgets. It’s normally the electrical items that cost the most at Christmas; the phones, tablets or consoles etc. These items are usually for the children; just ask yourself the following questions before you make the purchase; Can I really afford it? Do they already have the previous model? Is it necessary? Are their other items they would benefit from more? I’ll leave this one here so I don’t go into a whole new topic! Seriously, if you can’t afford these items don’t put yourself in debt for it (refer back to tip 1)
7. Nights in with family and friends. Why not plan some entertainment nights at your house and alternate the visits with family and friends, instead of rushing out into the cold every night during the festive period? Why not hold some of the celebrations at your own place? You could trade in an expensive but mediocre set menu & wine (excluding the taxi ride home) for some nice wine, supermarket canapes and music you want to hear! This could save you up-to £60 each night a treat towards your January savings pot!
You may use all or just one of these tips but I hope you took something away from reading them. I now use the festive period to catch up with loved ones, eat load of food, dance in my slippers, enjoy the big belly laughing and creating joyful memories. I’ve come to realise this is more precious than any gift to me!
Paula regularly shares tips and advice regarding increasing your assets from finance to emotional health on her social media pages. You can check her out for yourself via the links below:
If you have any tips to manage Christmas spending or financial tips in general drop them in the comments!0