That’s a good question isn’t it? How do we survive this time of the year? How do we end up at the start of a brand new year unscathed?
I would certainly not say I am a expert in answering these questions but being in my 40’s now and still standing I think I have done ok so far.
Here a few things I have learnt along the way:
This really has to be your first priority. Nobody wants to wake up Boxing Day and find they are hundreds or even thousands of pounds debt just because of one day. Yes, that’s right, one day. That’s all Christmas Day is, one day of the year. Do we really need to cause ourselves mountains of stress & debt because of one day? Yet, many people do.
Firstly sit down and write down all of your available funds between now and Christmas and also all of your debts and bills that need to be covered.
Don’t miss important payments that you need to make including:
- Utility Bills
- Council Tax
- TV Licence
- Credit payments
These all need paying. Don’t miss making these payments just because of Christmas.
Next work out what spare cash you will have. This is your Christmas Budget.
Now comes the fun part: live within this budget.
Don’t be ashamed to admit to friends and family that you can’t afford to buy presents for them. If they are true friends they will understand. Remember they may also be in the same position as you. The same applies to you and your partner. If you can’t afford gifts, don’t go spending on credit just to buy something. Be realistic and truthful about your finances.
Christmas is one day, remember its not worth getting in to debt that will take you months to repay. Christmas should not cause you stress.
Christmas is one day. Remember the shops are open Christmas Eve and most supermarkets are back open Boxing Day.
You don’t need to buy trolley after trolley of food.
Write a menu.
Shop only for what you need to make the food on your menu. Too much food is wasted in the UK. Remember, if you see a bargain in store, it’s only a bargain if you were going to buy the item in the first place.
Speaking of food, if you are short for cash how about making some home baked gifts. Mince pies, cookies and biscuits are easy to make. They also make a fantastic gift for friends and relatives and usually more appreciated than a gift they won’t me used.
One big tip I can give about surviving Christmas lunch is preparation. Prepare everything you can in advance. Not only does it cut down on the stress on the big day itself, leaving you time to enjoy the day with your loved ones but it can also help to spread the cost.
Buy veg, peel, blanch then freeze. Make mince pies and freeze them. Lets make Christmas easy on ourselves.
Who doesn’t like a drink at Christmas? There is nothing wrong in having an alcoholic drink to celebrate but there comes a time for everyone when enough alcohol has been consumed. Some people stop at this point, others continue drinking.
Alcohol is seen as the main reason for arguments, unacceptable behaviour and violence at any time of the year and even more so at Christmas. Just stand back and think if excess alcohol is having an affect on your behaviour and affecting those around you. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a family Christmas with no arguments?
Perhaps, drink less than you usually do at Christmas and enjoy the day together as a family. Children especially shouldn’t be subjected to people around them drinking excessively and it is proven that your drinking habits shape those of your children. In the UK too many people loose their lives due to drink driving or excess consumption. Lets put a stop to this by drinking sensibly and never ever driving whilst under the influence. Remember you can still be over the drink driving limit the day after. If you live in Scotland the permitted level of alcohol in your blood has just been reduced.
Keeping Up With The Jones’
Back to budgets.
If you can’t afford a certain toy/gadget for your child, you can’t afford it. Is it really worth going in to debt to buy these items?
Regardless of what children say, they won’t b the only one not getting the latest must have. Instill in your children lessons about saving up, having to wait for something they would like. For too long people have just gone out and got what they wanted now, usually on credit or by forsaking essential payments, as they have not had the patience to wait. Ok, your cooker breaks, this is an essential item that justifies spending on credit but is the latest smart phone or tablet really worth getting in to debt for?
Our generation are the first to be less well off than our parents. There are no longer jobs for life, easy opportunities to get on the property ladder and own your own home. We need to teach our children to budget and plan for the future.
Buying them everything they want, when they want it especially when you can’t afford it does not help anyone in the long run.
Yes, your children will be disappointed when they don’t gt what they want but this is a valuable lesson to learn in life. We can’t always have what we want in life when we want it. Sometimes we may never have the thing we dream of.
I honestly believe in today’s society this lesson is being ignored and children are struggling to deal with disappointment as a result. Today’s throw away have it now trend helps nobody. No person in this life should think that they are entitled to anything. Everything in life should be achieved by hard work and determination; something we are seeing less and less of.
Those Around Us
Christmas is about good times spent with those we love. Why do we surround ourselves with people who stress us out. There comes a time in life where we should think of our own personal happiness and I strongly believe by putting your happiness first you will make those around you happy too. For too long we put up with negative behaviour of others just to please them when quite frankly we should be pleasing ourselves.
It may not be easy but if there is a relative or friend that is spending the big day with you and you find that year after year the arguments and negative behaviour occurs perhaps this is the year to say enough is enough. If you can;t bring yourself to exclude this person or even exclude yourself from the situation, please try to speak to either them or a third party about the negative behaviour you struggle with. Perhaps say that you do not want this tension this year and its time that the hatchet was buried. Ask that you all spend a happy Christmas togther. You may feel that you need to say that you are asking this and if everybody does not get the special day they deserve then next year you will be celebrating Christmas a different way.
Christmas should be happy time for all, nobody should feel alone and nobody should be domineered by others.
Finally, I think this quote sums up what Christmas is really about:
Lets make this a happy stress free Christmas for everyone.