5 Ways To Survive The Festive Season
While December is supposed to be a time to relax and spend time with the family, for most people it is also a time of high stress. Yet with just a small amount of planning you can have a stress free festive season.
Create a budget for December and decide how much you are able to spend on fun activities, gifts and the Christmas meal.
Make a time with the family where you sit down and decide how the money will be spent. It is a great way to teach children to budget and to also learn how to prioritize. While their wish list may go on for two pages, by having to select just two or three activities they will realize what they really enjoy doing.
Be careful about pulling out the credit card and overspending – leaving the bills for January. You don’t want to start 2019 in debt. Each week set a budget on how much you will spend that week and draw just enough cash to meet those holiday expenses. It will help you keep track of your budget; alternatively keep a notebook and write down each day what you are spending to insure you stick to the budget.
Survive gift shopping
Online shopping is a great way to avoid the Christmas rush. You are also more likely to stick to the gift list. Online shopping allows you to easily compare prices and most deliver to your home. Try sites like Takealot or Spree for gifts and Pick ‘n Pay for grocery shopping. If you do go into the stores go with a well thought out food or gift list so you do not end up overspending. Shop with cash rather than store cards – the temptation to swipe that card on non-essentials will be too great. Decide how much you will spend on gifts, draw the cash and stick to the budget.
Always eat before you shop, research shows we are better at controlling our spending when we have a full belly. If you have a large family buying gifts can really destroy you financially. Make a pact with the family about limits on gifts. For example this year 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 homemade gifts. Some families agree to give gifts to children only.
This year in particular no one will be expecting expensive gifts. When it comes to gift ideas, remember 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 have stopped buying themselves during these tough periods like a bunch of flowers or bath salts.
Survive your children
Give children holiday spending money and teach them to also create a budget and keep track of their spending. The best way to survive Christmas shopping is to leave your children at home! Children get tired and bored quickly and you end up buying them things to pacify them. If your child wants to go gift shopping or to meet Santa then do this as a separate outing that will just be focusing on your child. It can be one of their holiday activities. Many parents panic about the whole “Santa/Father Christmas” expectation if their children still believe. Explain that Santa also has a budget as he has to give toys to all the children in the world and help the child to create a realistic gift list. The key is to manage expectations upfront.
Survive your holiday
Have a proper financial budget for your holiday. This should include all expenses such as petrol, tolls, flights, car hire, meals out and treats. If you are planning a long road trip this holiday make sure your car is up for the task. Give your car a full service before you travel and check oil, water and tyre pressure before you start your journey. Tyre pressure should be checked after your car is fully loaded and as per the manufacturers recommendation based on your load.
The Automobile Association (AA) recommends you carry the following emergency items:
First aid kit.
Aerosol tyre inflator – contains gas and latex to seal tyre punctures.
Spare ignition keys – preferably stored in a magnetic case somewhere on the outside of the car, e.g. behind a bumper or inside a hubcap.
Strong adhesive tape.
Compact tool box.
Vehicle technical handbook.
A cellular telephone is also considered an essential item especially for women travelling alone or with children.
Survive the family meal
No one expects you to foot the bill of the entire family meal. If you are hosting the main meal be open about asking for help.
Plan the family meal and ask family members to contribute different dishes and to bring the drinks. Alcohol consumption can lead to family stress on the day so perhaps limit how much alcohol will be served. Give people specific jobs on the day so that you have help cooking and serving up the food and clearing away. While older children and adults can be involved in cooking, younger children can help decorate and lay the table.
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