If you’re looking for ways to get on top of your money in the run up to Christmas, here are 5 things you can plan in less than an hour so your cash goes further.
Work out your money trade-offs
At some point in their lives, everyone has had to make trade-offs with their money (yes, even those multi-millionaires). If you’re at a point in your life where you need to be more careful with money, these trade-offs are even harder. A simple way to do this is to take time to write down the things that you must spend money on and identify any discretionary things that you don’t really value. Go through bank statements and be honest. It will help you understand where you can redirect money towards things that are more important to you.
Do a stock take at home
Allocate half an hour to go through each of the rooms in your house and list all those items that you haven’t used in the last six months. Then take some nice photos of them, research the cost of similar items online and put them up for sale. You can use ebay or similar sites such as Gumtree, but if delivery is an issue, there are many local selling sites on Facebook which work well. Apparently the average UK household has around £400 of unused items, which will help with your Christmas spend.
Create a visual reminder of your spending each week.
Even if you’re not artistic, having a visual reminder of your spending goals is a great way to keep focus. Why not draw up a simple bar chart that you can build up each week when you’ve saved money towards your goals. Keep it somewhere you can see it and it can be a great reminder of your spending priorities.
Make your side hustle work for you.
This is in vogue right now with lots of people urging you to ‘side hustle’. The term basically means that if you have hobby or skill that you’re passionate about, you might well be able to monetise it. Do you bake, write a regular blog, or make jewellery? Whatever your skill, put aside fifteen minutes to do some research and see whether you could earn money from it. It doesn’t have to make you millions overnight but it might be a simple way to get extra cash.
Plan experiences instead of gifts
It’s easy to feel bombarded by adverts encouraging us to spend money on gifts that the recipient will never use. With a little research though, and time to plan in advance, you can arrange ‘experiences’ you can give as gifts which will cost far less and be appreciated far more. Spend ten minutes thinking about what each person you usually give a gift to would love to do that will create happy memories for you to share. Perhaps a gift could be a themed potluck dinner you offer to host, based around a holiday they have loved or food they really enjoy. Or, you could plan a day trip with a picnic to a place that holds special memories for them.