Our top 10 tips to make the festive season more affordable for single parents
With the holidays being right around the corner, you are probably starting to make your Christmas shopping list and checking it twice. If you are a single parent and find yourself feeling a tad stressed about your finances this time of year, you are far from being the only one. You don’t have to break the bank to have a wonderful Christmas though. In fact, there are plenty of ways to cut back spending and even save a little extra. If you want to learn how, then rest assured, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some great tips on how to do all your Christmas shopping without breaking the bank.
1. Stick to a list
One way to help save some money during the holidays is by making a list and being strict about sticking to it. Every store you go to will draw you in with their twinkling lights and their glittery merchandise. The festive displays are meant to lure you inside and tempt you to buy things. Often, shoppers will find that they’ve spent a little more than they should have on odds and ends they didn’t really need. So, create a Christmas shopping list in advance and stick to it.
2. Create a budget
Take some time to sit down and do a little maths. Take a look at your expenses, your income, and come up with a Christmas shopping budget and stick to it. Often times we end up buying something because we think it’s adorable or nifty, and we convince ourselves that we have to have it. We realize a little too late that it was probably an unnecessary expense. So, stick to whatever budget you create for yourself and your family. If you stick to a spending plan and don’t go over it, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to make ends meet later on.
3. Put money aside
It may sound a little obvious, but putting small, even tiny amounts of money aside for Christmas throughout the year can soon add up. This can be the small change from your weekly shopping, or the money you have saved by getting an item on sale. Anything that is small enough for you not to miss it, should go in a jar for your Christmas shopping. You will be surprised how things can add up. The difficult part is starting early and being disciplined. If you are struggling with this, set up a standing order into your savings account. Many of our clients find it easiest to pay for their singles ski holidays in installments rather than having to save up for a one off balance payment.
4. Look for sales
Consider all the places that you’ll likely do your Christmas shopping at. Chances are, they’ll have sales during the holiday season, where you’ll be able to find bargains on all kind of goods. Starting early and taking advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers, for example, could save you a small fortune! It’s a wonderful way to get all the bang for your buck.
5. Consider a credit card
Let’s face it, times are a little tough right now. Money is tight. If it’s too late to save up for Christmas, consider putting your holiday purchases on a credit card. A credit card will allow you to get all your Christmas shopping done with the luxury of paying it back in more convenient and smaller increments later on. It can help if you’re really in a pinch this holiday season. BUT: Set yourself a limit and work out, when and how you can pay the money back. You don’t want to end up in debt for the rest of the year.
6. Charity shops
Many practical gifts can be found at second-hand stores. Charity shops can have all kinds of fun shopping finds for a fraction of the price that you’d find them at in regular stores. It is a great way to find cool gifts at heavily discounted prices that look brand new but did not please or fit the original owner.
7. Make it yourself
If you are crafty and have the time, consider making homemade gifts for your family and friends. Who doesn’t love a fresh baked batch of cookies or some homemade jam?! If you’re creatively inclined, you can even make books, decorations, and all sorts of things from scratch. Get the kids to make their own Christmas cards for family and friends. These gifts may take some time and effort to put together, but you can’t beat the love that is put into a homemade gift.
8. Get gifts for free
Ok, so your adult friends might not be impressed by a preloved gift, but younger kids won’t mind if a toy had a previous owner. Many families clear out toys their children have grown out of for free on local Facebook pages, toy banks, or freecycling sites. Many wooden toys, such as play kitchens, car garages, or doll houses can be made to look like new with a lick of paint in your kid’s favourite colour. Bicycles are often barely used before kids grow out of them. So, have a browse around your local pages to see what you can pick up for free leaving you more money to spend on the rest of your kids’ Christmas list.
9. Get a quick loan
If your credit isn’t exactly stellar, you might qualify to get a loan quickly. These loans can help you get cash in a hurry, without a whole lot of rigorous background checks. You might not get a whole lot of cash from these types of loans, but they can still help take the financial load off of your shoulders during the holiday shopping dash.
10. Donate blood
Do something good whilst earning a little extra cash for Christmas. Blood and plasma are lifesaving, and you can get paid a bit of money for your time. Many organisations don’t pay but look for paid blood donation near you and you will find that many research facilities reimburse you for your time and travel expenses.
With all these creative ways to save and even earn, your Christmas shopping should be a little bit easier. Happy holidays to you and yours, and happy shopping!
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