Try using a cap this Christmas

christmas price capThat’s right, this Christmas I’m suggesting you take precautions so that there are no nasty surprises to deal with in the new year…

All innuendo aside though, it really isn’t worth getting into debt over. More spending does not guarantee you a better festive season, so why make life difficult for yourself in the long run?

This year I’ve placed a price cap on all my festive spending, including food, drink, entertainment, travel and gifts. That includes total gifts spending, and gifts per person.

Now I’ve set an amount to budget with, I’m feeling a little less stressed because I know I can actually afford to spend this amount. It won’t get me into trouble with the bank, and there won’t be scary credit card bills and interest to deal with later.

One of the biggest problems with Christmas spending is the ‘creep’. By which I don’t mean weird Uncle Roger, although maybe you’ve experienced that problem too. What I mean is the way that we’re all likely to say, ‘Oh, come on, it’s Christmas. Spend a little more, it won’t hurt.’ It happens all over the place, a little here, a little there. I’m not immune from it either, and have found over the years that I do better when I’ve built an extra 10% contingency into my budget to cope with it.

The other problem seems to be panic buying. A little voice in my head says ‘Aaaargh! This isn’t enough! Quick, add this to the basket,’ and suddenly the budget isn’t looking too rosy. That’s why I make a shopping list and keep it with me, so I can remind myself to stick to the plan.

Panic buying really comes into its own when we all start stockpiling food and drink. This is fine if you’re likely to be snowed in up a mountain for several days in the Scottish Highlands, but in truth most of us could run out to a corner shop or make a fairly short journey to get milk and bread. It just leads to food waste or too many leftovers to think about.

Also, if you’ve put out a really, really good spread and your guests go through it like a horde of locusts and drink you dry to boot, you could always make up some sandwiches for the rest of their stay and send them out to the off licence.

It’ll be fine – don’t panic. Have you put a price cap on any of your festive spending this year?

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  1. I have been buying bits and pieces and storing them in the closet without thinking too much about budget. I decided to pull all of them out this weekend and add up the receipts and was surprised that it all came to just £66! Although ive only done about half the presents, im pretty chuffed ive kept the spending down just by keeping my already high credit card balance in mind x

  2. Hi Gemma, thanks for commenting.

    Good luck with the second half of the present-buying. I think there will be some good offers starting at the end of next week, if you can keep your nerve! I’ve managed to pay more off my credit card this month than I’ve put onto it, and am determined that it’s going to stay that way, fingers crossed… P x

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