Christmas in October 2014

We’re in the final quarter of the year – how did that happen? Anyway, like it or not, we’re in the run-up to Christmas and that’s potentially a nasty financial headache for most of us. Failing that, it could end up being a huge financial hangover in 2015, so let’s see if a bit of planning now can prevent problems later.

pumpkin at christmas in october

If you’re a regular employee, you might have a bit of September’s pay packet left, plus wages in October, November and December, so there’s still time to spread the costs out over three to four wage packets. Combining this with keeping the general costs down is a good plan.

Things are different for me because I’m a freelancer, so I’ve been planning further ahead. You might remember that back in April I started putting £25 away each month, and so far I’ve saved the full £175 I was aiming for by this point. By November I’ll have hit my full goal of £200, and that should be plenty (we do some nice festive things here and do a fair amount of entertaining, but we don’t go over the top). I’ll buy my other half a nice gift, but I’ll buy as cleverly as possible and try to get a really good deal on it so he’ll get more for the same amount of money.

The party dress fund

The other extra thing I’ve been saving up for is a new party dress. Every time I was given a 50p piece in change this year, I put it straight into the piggy bank. A few coins from down the back of the sofa ended up in there too. Now I have £25.50 to spend, and that’s plenty. I can get something simple from the high street (combined with a voucher or discount) or I can buy something second hand from a more expensive brand.

The thing about second hand party dresses is that some of them are never even worn before being re-sold. Or they’re worn once or twice and then languish unused in a wardrobe. This means they tend to be in great condition when you come to buy them, and they’re much, much cheaper than the original price. I’m buying something second hand (but unused) from eBay this week before the party season rush starts, and second hand prices go up.

I’m so pleased with the £25.50 in the dress fund kitty that I’ll definitely be doing the same thing next year. It’s been completely painless, and there’s a nice little guilt-free treat at the end of it. Want me to remind you about it in the Spring?

October prep

There are lots of things you can do now to spread the cost of the festive season:

  • Buy long lasting foods (tinned, frozen, biscuits)
  • Make festive food and drink, especially jams, relishes and chutney
  • Find end of summer wine deals & bulk buys
  • Look out for offers on spirits
  • Start making craft gifts, cards, tags and ornaments
  • Look for bargains and flash sales in the shops (e.g. new season promotions)
  • Pick up must-have toys before they sell out
  • Buy other gifts and stocking fillers

Are you doing anything else this month? Let us know how you’re spreading the cost of the festive season.

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One Comment

  1. I’ve started buying my presents now in order to spread it out so hopefully December’s pay cheque won’t take too much of a hit (if any).

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