It may not even be Halloween yet, but planning (way) ahead for the festive season can make a huge difference when it comes to your finances.
Social occasions combined with gift-giving, alongside everyday bills can make for a pretty expensive few months.
And if that’s giving you all the awkward feels – fear not! The festive season needn’t push you over your financial limits.
RSVPs & The Season Of Giving
Most of us are more than happy to RSVP a big sparkly “YES!” to our friends’ festive get-together, or to purchase that thoughtful present for our loved ones.
It’s part and parcel of the magic of the season!
Despite this, it’s important to be conscious of your spending and financial planning, so that come January 1st you’re not suffering from a major spending hangover.
Eek – we’ve all been there!
I’m so delighted therefore to welcome Ben Nacca, founder of Cone Accounting, to lend his expert insight into How To Financially Plan For The Festive Season.
Ben is my own personal accountant, and I’ve been working closely with him and his amazing team for the past year. Cone Accounting is truly like no other accountancy firm (check out their blog and Instagram to see what I mean!), and it’s safe to say that Ben not only knows the ‘sensible side’ of finances, but how to design a lifestyle and business which you can enjoy too!
If anyone is perfectly placed to lend advice on spending habits over the festive season, the Cone Accounting team are!
Over to Ben!
Love, Monica x
How To Financially Plan For The Festive Season
It may feel premature to mention the Christmas when we still have Halloween and Bonfire Night to go, but now is the perfect time to start financially planning for the festive season.
And let’s be honest – it’s the few months leading up to Christmas which can be expensive – not just December 25th!
There is nothing like getting ahead to help you to keep your bank balance, and festive checklist, in order.
Praying that your bank account will cover everything, can lead to a seriously stressful time.
And that’s not what you or your giftees want!
I’ve rounded up some tips to help you to remain relaxed and in control of your finances this festive season . . .
A Financial Expert’s Guide To
Preparing For Christmas
#1 Make A List
Make a list in a note app, or spreadsheet, to list out all of the people you are going to be buying gifts for this year.
Friends, family, pets . . . (we have our own fashionable pup – we get it!)
A comprehensive list is the first step towards planning your spending over the next few months.
If you have any ideas for what you might like to get each person – jot this down next to their name too. That way you can start mapping our your potential spending needs.
We like to use Evernote for making our lists – the checkboxes are so useful!
#2 Naughty or nice?
OK we jest, there’s no naughty/nice list! But it is helpful to determine roughly how much you want to spend on each person.
Start by setting an overall budget for everyone.
What do you plan on spending over the whole festive season?
And – be realistic! You still have rent, bills and outgoings to accommodate.
Once you have your budget in mind, jot it down on your Christmas list (see point #1) or put it at the bottom of your spreadsheet. This figure is what you are aiming to spend amongst all of your gift-receivers.
The tough part is now deciding what your budget is for each person on your list – family and close friends might have higher budgets than friends you see every now and again.
Any ideas you already have for presents (again see point #1) you can now write alongside the respective person’s name with a rough price point for each one.
This list is then ready – try not to stray too far from it, and use it as your tool to keep organised over the festive holidays.
“It’s a good idea to set up a savings account
– it’s never too late!
With October and November pay-packets coming up,
this is a great time to set some money
aside to help in December.”
# 3 Make The Most Of Offers!
This time of year can be expensive, however if you’re smart (and have a little insider knowledge!) you can bag some amazing savings and vouchers.
There are even ways to spread the costs.
Use sites like Quidco when you’re doing your online shopping to make the most of cash back offers. As long as you click the link through Quidco (free to use), then it takes you to the regular retailer’s website where you pick the items and make your purchases as normal.
By using this method, you can sometimes earn a fixed amount (like £10 off of a European destination with Thomas Cook Holidays) or a cash back percentage, which is most common, like up to 12% cash back on ASOS.
Sounds good right?!
It’s a good idea to set up a savings account as well – it’s never too late, and with October and November pay-packets coming up, this is a great time to set some money aside to help in December.
Another option is credit cards. You have to be careful with these, and you’re looking for specific types. Specifically these are the credit cards that give back and at the lowest possible APR – this does depend on your credit status, but cards like Barclaycard offer reward points for each Pound spent which you can exchange into vouchers across many high street retailers and online stores.
A card with 0% APR for 6-months or a similar term means you can pay the card off over this period and incur no interest at all. Once the free period expires, you can close down the credit card account. You’ve spent £0 in interest and minimised the stress of Christmas spending too.
#4 12 Days of Christmas
When December comes round, everything usually feels like it is on fast-forward, and before you know it, you’re juggling multiple festive events, drinks with your work contacts and buying those presents off the list (above) if you left it late!
A good plan is to start locking in dinner dates and Christmas drinks now in the run-up to December – it’ll help you to plan your outgoings and you’ll know what days you are available if anything spontaneous pops up!
It’s also a great idea to book travel plans now. If you’re going to be travelling over the festive period to see friends and family, then trains and planes are better to book now rather than waiting till the last minute when the prices often shoot up.
#5 Don’t Forget About Next Year
It’s easy with the excitement of the festive season to forget that January is right around the corner too. And come January 1st you may be feeling a little bit more stretched financially than you were prior to Christmas.
Try and take into consideration your potential spending needs in January and February ahead of the new year too so that you can start 2018 feeling prepared.
What’s Your Take?
I hope that you’ve found these tips useful for keeping on top of your finances this festive season.
If you enjoyed the post, please feel free to share and say “hi” over on our Instagram – @ConeAccounting
Have a great festive season!
About The Author
Ben is the Director of Cone Accounting, an alternative accountancy firm designed for creative entrepreneurs. Ben first started the company, when after a decade of experience in the industry, he decided he had more to offer. He wanted Cone to be the perfect blend of business and lifestyle and wanted to help creatives understand and access their finances more easily. By harnessing technology Cone specialises in business growth and cloud accounting.
Photography by Frances McMahon
Small Initial Dish: Anthropologie – Similar
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