It’s Christmas! That’s right the countdown to Christmas has started; in a little over 4 months we’ll be eating turkey, pulling crackers, and smooching under the Mistletoe…

OK, a countdown to Christmas really isn’t my style… Planning? Organisation? Budgeting? As far as I’m concerned Christmas has no business being anywhere near August (or September or October for that mater); I don’t care what the retailers might be doing (Sainsbury’s have already held their blogger event for their Christmas range for goodness sake!). However, I was challenged by Totallymoney.com to come up with reasons for and how to save for emergencies and large purchases, and let’s face it, for parents Christmas can be an exceedingly expensive time of year. If I were being a responsible person I would start my countdown to Christmas now and get my financial planning on…

It may be August but the countdown to christmas has started, especially if you are a parent, Christmas can be an expensive time of year! Click here for 9 tips for saving money for Christmas: http://mumsdays.com/countdown-to-christmas/

I’ll not mention the C-word again for now, because it isn’t right in August, but hopefully you get what I’m talking about now (4 months isn’t an especially large amount of time to be saving, especially when you factor in needing to entertain the kids the summer!)…

Everyday living is expensive and I for one have never been any good at budgeting or saving. So, if saving isn’t your forte, like myself, when something like car repairs crops up one month, never mind the dreaded C-word, it can be painful! Hopefully this list of saving and budgeting techniques might be helpful for you too!

Countdown to Christmas – How to save for it!

I’ve pulled together resources from a few helpful of places, including Baby Centre’s Parent’s Money Saving Tips, budgeting tips from netmums, how to save for large family purchases from Kids ain’t Cheap and plain-old observations of conversations I’ve had with people.

  1. Planning – Start with simple things first, like getting to grips with your bank statement. Not just the Direct Debits and normal stuff – checking what money slips the net. Shop around utilities, etc and go back to suppliers to ask for a better deal!
  2. Budgeting – on the countdown to Christmas, it makes sense to tighten the belt a little, so budgeting allows you to still do things but not go crazy! Doing something simple, like a meal-planner, can help you stick to your food budget (and reduce it!).
  3. Cutting costs – There are always pennies to be saved. With everyday items, buying in bulk, buying in the sales (i.e. now because there are sales on but with your long term hat on!), accepting hand-me-downs (we probably saved about £1000 by accepting secondhand buggy, cot, moses basket, etc!), buying pre-loved (Reuben’s next birthday present from us is a pre-loved scooter that cost £3!) can all help you to save pennies here and there. Also try to fix not throw!
  4. Earning – Are there extra ways you can be bringing money in on the countdown to Christmas? If you currently don’t work, think about your skills. Is there something flexible you could be doing to bring in the extra cash? One woman from the Baby Centre’s article would strap on her baby, go for a nice walk and do a bit of flyering while she was at it!
  5. Benefits – understand what your entitled to, and make sure you get it. There are loads of online calculators to work it out. You’ll apparently need a cuppa but try this Government Benefits Adviser.
  6. Borrowing money – a lot of people need to borrow money from time to time, and thanks to high-APR, short-term lending it’s got a bad rep. But there is a responsible way to go about this and that is to research the cheapest way to borrow money. It’s still possible to get really good APR these days, so shop around and as long as you are diligent with paying on time, it’s can be a great option!
  7. Get competitive – Turn money saving on the countdown to Christmas into a game! Not spending money can be, well, a little depressing. But if you can turn it into a game between you and your partner, say who can save the most money in a week, with extra points for creativity, it could be fun…!
  8. Get creative – You don’t have to spend a fortune to have quality time. Just because you’re working to a budget on the countdown to Christmas, doesn’t mean you should neglect having good quality time with your family and your partner. I wrote this post about stay-at-home date night ideas a while back, and there are so many family days out that are free, just have a little hunt around and get creative with the picnic. I say embrace nature…In fact the more remote the day out, the fewer gift shops you’ll have to negotiate (always a killer to our wallet and sanity on a day out!).
  9. Get a new hobby – Finally, if you really enjoy say, buying kids’ clothes on EBay that they don’t necessarily need, perhaps try a new hobby for the next few months…up-cycling your furniture or even making some Christmas presents! That ought to keep your hands busy and away from the keyboard and your wallet!

I hope this helps and Merry Christmas! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…!)

Have you started your countdown to Christmas? What are your saving techniques?

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with the wise people at totallymoney.com, all words and thoughts are my clearly my own because I need to get organised!