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Christmas isn't a surprise event

Monday 14th November 2016

At the risk of sounding like a stuck Christmas jingle, when it comes to festive spending you need to budget. Even now there’s still time to give yourself breathing space, control your spending and start the New Year in fine financial fettle.
There are simple steps you can take to regain control of your finances and your priority should be to know how much you have coming in and what you are spending it on throughout the year. Once you know this you can then set a budget for Christmas spending – and stick to it. For most people, expecting December wages to cover everything is unrealistic.
A lot of pressure surrounds the festive season and it’s difficult not to get caught up but the biggest gift you can give yourself is to take a step back. Taking time out to look at your income and existing financial commitments, to make a list of who you’re buying for, catering for, how many parties you need new clothes for – and then deciding where you can cut it back, will pay dividends. There are times when embracing your inner Scrooge is appropriate.
If saving is not an option, perhaps having a pre-Christmas clear out and selling some unwanted items might help. Or saving supermarket loyalty points for buying special treats. Last minute shopping, whilst frenetically festive, is not the route to financial control.
Even if you do overspend a bit, knowing what you’re up against in advance will allow you to start budgeting for next year – there’s one New Year resolution in the bag!
A version of this article originally appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press, Friday 11th November 2016