Samuel Rosenberg: Christmas survival guide

Christmas shopping smiling Santa woman . Over blue backgroundSamuel Rosenberg

NEW YORK, United States, Friday October 31, 2014 – Even where people spend 10 months of the year carefully managing a budget so that their income and expenses are carefully looked after, Christmas is the time of the year when many people ignore the advice of the professionals about budgeting for Christmas expenses and just purchase excessive amounts of food and drink and presents that they feel they need for the Christmas period, whether they can afford it or not.

Especially during challenging economic times, which our country has not yet recovered from, it is essential for everyone to prioritise the types of purchases across the Christmas period that are required so that you can organise your income accordingly.

Whatever deals are available in the shops, you do not have to be addicted to purchasing with your money where the control of it has gone out of fashion. Shopping is an addiction and where you see people who are purchasing around you it can be difficult to keep within your own budgeting requirements when you see things you would like to purchase, especially when you consider them necessary, whether they are or not.

Many special offers may look attractive to you, but if you do not need to replace your microwave oven, let your old model sit there for a few more years. It is still the thought of the gift that counts and not the amount that you have spent that is important. When times are financially difficult it is better to buy a suitable gift rather than overspend without knowing how you are going to repay the debt once Christmas has been and gone. You will not wish to still be paying for Christmas as November comes around next year.

Within families or friends it can be cost-effective to share the purchase of a gift with other people. In this way, you may able to purchase for one person, often a child, for the present they have been asking about during the past six months.

It is essential to set yourself a Christmas budget in advance. As you know, you will probably be spending more during this period than at any other time of the year. It makes good sense to have put aside a little money every month, where it will earn interest and make it much easier for you to arrive with a good set of funds for the festive period in front of you.

Your budgeting will include listing the food and drink and entertainment costs you will require for the Christmas period as well as a list of all the people you are going to buy presents for so you can see how much you intend to spend.

It is important that you stick like glue to your budget once it has been set and if you have saved money in advance so that you do not have to put your purchases on a credit card or an overdraft facility, you will have the money available to purchase presents early in the season, when they are better value or perhaps in a sale.

Christmas is a time to be enjoyed and the less you are worrying about money during this period, you will find more pleasure and less stress across the month of December. You will certainly be better prepared for the New Year.

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samuel-rosenbergThe writer is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to srosenberg@axcelfinance.com