The Money Advice and Budgeting Services have 12 tips for managing Christmas spending, which can spiral out of control at this time of year:
1. Set money aside for bills expected in January. If you can put money aside for the bills you know will arrive on your doorstep in January it will give you peace of mind and increase your enjoyment of Christmas.
2. Don’t count on bonuses or overtime payments—if you rely on them and don’t get them you will have overspent.
3 Make out a budget of your household income and outgoings to see how much you can afford to spend this Christmas.
4. Use the MABS Christmas budget planner to make a list of what food you need and the people you intend to buy gifts for.
5. Decide in advance exactly what you want to buy and, more important, the amount you can afford to spend.
6. Shop early and give yourself time to shop around for the best bargains.
7. Pay cash if you can. Leave your credit card at home.
8. When buying food and drink, be realistic. Shops will open again in a day or two after Christmas.
9. Encourage your children to choose early what they want from Santa Claus. Children don’t need new clothes for Christmas – if you must buy something make sure they can wear it after Christmas too.
10. Remember, good friends don’t need expensive gifts. Send a Christmas card or set a limit with family and friends on what each will spend on the other, or do a Kris Kindle.
11. Don’t panic if you have no gift for the surprise visitor. Simply recycle and rewrap a gift you have received and not used.
12. If you are on a low income and are under pressure to borrow for Christmas or are worried about making ends meet this Christmas, contact the MABS helpline on 1890 283438 or your local MABS to see what options are available to you. North MABS is located at Cualgara, Teeling Street, Ballina (096 72902, [email protected] ) and South MABS is located at Humbert Mall, Castlebar (094 902 8888, [email protected] ). www.mabs.ie