Most of us are going to feel cash strapped this festive season due to the financial strain of the COVID-19 lockdown. But we also need to have something to celebrate and to look forward to. We can do this if we put a plan in place.
Set a budget
Decide upfront how much you are going to spend on celebrating this year. Remember that most people are facing a tight budget, so buying practical gifts like clothes or shoes would be really appreciated.
Think about small luxuries that people may have stopped buying for themselves during these tough periods. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let someone know you care about them.
Create a family pact
Sit down with the family to discuss limits on gifts. For example, do a Secret Santa where the names of each family member are pulled out a hat. You buy one gift of a certain value for whoever’s name you pulled out. Alternatively set a price limit on gifts or agree to give gifts to children only.
This is also a time for charity and goodwill. Perhaps instead of gifts for each other you give to those in need.
Don’t forget those loyalty rewards
Most of us belong to various loyalty programmes and those points or discounts are going to be so useful this year to bring a bit more cheer than we could probably afford.
When it comes to smart shopping, many of us are now far more comfortable with online purchases. This is a great way to avoid the queues and online shopping allows you to easily compare prices. But you do need discipline not to get carried away and just add items to that virtual shopping cart.
A good idea is to leave the items in the virtual cart and wait a few days before you actually pay. This will give you time to reflect.
Use a shopping list
If you are going to brave the shopping malls, always shop with a list and leave the store cards at home, otherwise the temptation to swipe that card on impulse purchases will be too great.
Decide how much you will spend, draw the cash, and stick to the budget.
Eat before you shop
Research shows we are better at controlling our spending when we have a full belly. Also, if we have eaten before we go shopping, we are less likely to spend money on takeaways.
Take this time to celebrate with your family and appreciate what you have.