It may only be October, but the festive season is upon us. Over the next few months, many of us will find ourselves celebrating several occasions and, often, this means giving gifts to your loved ones. Of course, it’s absolutely essential to remember that gift giving isn’t essential and what’s most important is spending quality time with your loved ones. But if you are able to and do want to give gifts, now is the time to start preparing. Now, it’s important that you plan everything out well. Here are a few steps that can help you to keep things positive and organised.
Set a Budget
Before we get started, it’s absolutely essential that we note that you need to set a budget before buying gifts for the holiday season. All too many people find themselves overspending and digging themselves into debt at this time of year, resulting in spending months of the new year trying to pay off the gifts from the holiday season. This places undue stress on you and can result, in worse cases, in financial ruin. Instead, you need to make a budget that highlights how much you have available to spend – and you need to stick to it. Creating a budget is simple. Here’s what to do!
Work Out Your Take Home Pay
First things first, you need to determine how much money you take home from your work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just divide your salary by twelve to figure out your monthly pay. Instead, you need to work out your take home pay. This is the sum you’ll actually take home and be able to spend. If you’re employed, your employer will deduct your tax, national insurance, student loan payments and pension contributions from your pay before transferring it to you. However, if you’re self-employed you’ll need to figure out and deduct these amounts yourself.
Take Away Essential Costs
Once you know your take home pay, you need to deduct your essential costs. These are the things you have to pay for. They tend to include your rent or mortgage payments, mandatory payments like council tax, water bills, energy bills, food bills and more. If you have contracts with phone providers, broadband providers, car finance or lenders, you will need to make these payments too.
Consider Upcoming Payments
Remember you may have one off payments coming up before the festive season. Check whether your car tax is due, car servicing, kid’s school trips and other similar costs. You need to factor these into your budget too.
Organise Your Disposable Income
Once you’ve deducted all essential payments, you’ll be left with your disposable income. This is the amount that you have available to spend on gifts. Make sure that you do not exceed this amount. This will prevent you from digging yourself into debt. Now, you need to organise your disposable income, determining how much you can spend on each person you’re shopping for.
The more organised you are with your gift buying, the better the process will be. Avoid leaving everything until the last minute, as this can result in stress and disappointment, as things may sell out or become unavailable or more expensive. Instead, start early. This will give you more of a chance of securing the items you want and can also help you to bag them at a lower cost in sales and with discounts.
It’s generally best to decide what you want to get each of your loved ones before heading to the shops or starting to add items to your basket online. This will allow you to spend your money well and wisely. Here are some popular items that many people like to give and receive!
- Beauty products – bath bombs, face masks, makeup and other beauty items are often pretty popular. They can also be low cost and a great gift!
- Food and drinks – if you have a foodie in your life, food and drinks can make a great gift. Consider chocolates, spirits from The Bottle Haus, chutneys and preserves and more.
- Experiences – experiences are becoming more popular gifts. Tickets to concerts, the theatre, ballet, sports events, food days out, skydiving, city tours and more can go down a treat.
Hopefully, the above information will help you to make your way through the festive season without experiencing excessive stress or negativity. Keep each suggestion in mind and everything should go smoothly!