Tips to save money and stay out of debt this Christmas
It is getting to that time of the year again when we enter that annual shopping frenzy called Christmas. If we are not careful that may mean we can find ourselves in debt or over spent. Here are some ideas from parents who have made the decision to avoid Christmas debt.
Christmas pester power
There is no doubt about it children are a marketing man’s dream. And some parents also fall into this category too.
Actually I have to admit I am definitely one of those parents. Pester power works and the marketing people know it. Christmas is the time when their messages are most persuasive and of course they can make the most money.
There are also other symptoms’ of being a marketing man’s dream.
They include adding a few extras to the trolley as you are waiting at the check out queue in your local supermarket. Or finding yourself attracted to buying anything which conjures up a personality, whether it be a yogurt, washing powder or toilet roll. These are all strategies to make you or your kids buy something.
The thing is none of us wants to deny our kids stuff, or make them go without unnecessarily, particularly at Christmas time. But quite often the reverse is true, we are the ones that end up with going without or even worse getting ourselves into unnecessary debt. And actually that is not good for us or the kids.
Is this a good example for our kids
Because of this pester power, if we are not careful we end up buying a lot of stuff which the kids allegedly cannot live without. And yet, even before the credit card bill has landed on the door mat, the toy, or whatever the latest gizmo is, has been shunned to a top shelf where it is just gathering dust.
Even if you have budgeted for expensive Christmas presents for the kids is this a good example to set children? It is good to remember that Marketeers fan the flames. That is their job but ours as parents is very different.
Be a canny parent and avoid Christmas debt
So here are a few tips I have picked up from some very canny mums and dads to help parents who are being pestered to splash out on expensive toys at Christmas, which the kids don’t really need or want.
- Club together with other parents/ family and get support for limiting the amount of money you spend, or being bullied into buying the latest gizmo for Christmas this year.
- Sit down and talk to your children about the cost of things. Even quite small children can understand this. Use existing toys to demonstrate the difference in cost between for example a computer game and a football.
- Dig out nearly new toys and have a toy swop party with friends who have kids the same age.
- Buy books and toys from charity shops and Christmas Fairs. Don’t be proud.
- If your child wants something really expensive a bike, the latest Xbox – and you believe they will make good use of this. Then get relatives to pool presents so that this one present is from a number of relatives or friends.
- How about they pool the present with another sibling, or have a joint birthday and Christmas present.
- Alternatively you get them to pay you a percentage back from other money they receive or through helping you in the house or garden.
When your children are insisting on designer labels
The same applies for kids who want designer trainers, or designer clothes. And this rule I believe should apply all year round not just at Christmas. If your children are insisting on having expensive designer alternatives which you can not really afford, or actually even if they can then they should contribute with their pocket money or birthday money, to help buy them. These are all good life lessons to learn – so don’t feel guilty.
Everyone makes their own presents
Now this is radical but I have a friend who does this every year with her family at Christmas time. (And actually they don’t really need to – they just choose to). Whatever you give to anyone – that is parents to children or grandparents to grandchildren – or children to parents you have to make!! It could be a board game, something to eat, socks, a vase ….. you name it. What a great ideas.