christmas

How Should You Budget For Christmas?

Christmas is a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and slow down a bit before the start of the New Year. But it can also be quite a stressful time when it comes to money.Budget

A lot of people end up spending quite a lot of money during this holiday season and this can even lead to debt.

Here are some simple tips to ensure you budget well for Christmas and get to enjoy it without spending a fortune.

Draw Up A Budget

It is a good idea to draw up a budget for yourself for the Christmas season. You can do it by dividing the budget into different categories. The main expenses during Christmas include:

  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Cards
  • Decorations
  • Possible travel

You can then think a little bit how much you want to spend on each of these categories. The key is to make sure that you have saved some money during the year to ensure you don’t need to loan money to purchase anything. Don’t go wild with your credit cards either.

If you want to use them it is a good idea to look carefully, which credit cards offer the best deals for you to use.

How Much To Spend

Of course you need to carefully think about how much you want to spend on each category. For instance, with gifts you should be careful about thinking the people you really must be buying a gift to. Don;t feel pressured to buying expensive gifts to people that you don’t even spend a lot of time with.

Remembering people with a Christmas card is enough to show you are thinking about them.

Clever Tips To Save Money

The good news is that there are a lot of good tips on how to save money and still have a great Christmas. Here are some tips for each of these categories.

Food

Food is often one of the biggest parts of Christmas expenses. The best way to save money with food is to draw up a menu well before the holiday and be realistic with the amount of food you are going to eat. Don’t buy crazy amounts of food so that you don’t end up throwing it away.

Gifts And Cards

A good way to save money with your gift shopping is to look into the option of making your own gifts and cards. For instance, making great homemade food gifts can be a really nice way to remember friends and neighbours and it will be a lot cheaper than a wine bottle or similar.

Decorations

This is another bracket where you save a lot of money by making your own decorations. There are a lot of great ideas at the Reader’s Digest website. Making your own decorations is not only cheaper but it can also be a fun thing to do together with the kids. Make sure you also use some of your older decorations as you don’t need to buy new ones every single year.

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Katherine is interested in providing budgeting tips and help in finding accounting services. She also likes to volunteer to get young people involved with the local communities and is passionate about learning salsa dancing.


What About The 12 Costs of Christmas?

Costs of Christmas

This infographic is produced by Webrevolve for the debt recovery and debt collection service CBC International.


I’m Dreaming of a Tight Christmas

This year, as the double dip recession hits us even harder, and someone mentions the C word… Christmas, you probably feel more like Scrooge than one of Santa’s little helpers, especially when people dare to bring up the subject when the summer months are barely behind us. But when we have the prospect of another thrifty Christmas looming upon us, planning is everything. The more prepared you are for Christmas, the more money you will be able to save and the more enjoyable Christmas will be.

If when you imagine a Christmas on a budget your family has morphed into the Royles sat round the table eating an inedible turkey and drinking pints of Lidl’s version of Bailey’s – don’t worry it won’t be like that… unless you want it to be of course!

This version of Christmas on a budget will be just like any other Christmas minus a few minor luxuries and by January, your pockets will hopefully feel significantly heavier than unusual! So starting with the planning – work out how many people you have to buy gifts for and how much money you have to play with. If you have a large family the best thing to do is sit down together and set a limit of how much you can spend on each person. It may sound like an awkward conversation but the chances are your relatives will be relieved.

Shop Around

It’s very tempting to hit a shopping centre, Christmas gift list in hand and just blitz everything in one go, however the reality is you will probably end up spending more than you need to. More often than not, you can find the DVD or gadget you are looking for cheaper online. So make sure you shop spend a few minutes shopping round on the internet to find the cheapest place – just be aware of delivery prices. To make it even easier for you, there are several price comparison apps you can get to help you find the best price – try Barcode Hero and RedLaser. Look out for the My Voucher Codes app too which will show you all the offers that available where you are.

Plan Your Food Shop in Advance

Walk in any supermarket in the run up to Christmas and you will be bombarded with offers on every Christmas food you can think of, so stock up early and avoid that scary and frankly nightmarish Christmas shop we all dread. Get your festive chocolate while it’s on offer and also make the most of any alcohol offers that are available – as long as you have the self-control to leave them alone until Christmas Day!

It’s always a bit of a gamble knowing when to get your Christmas turkey; you can order it, you might pay a bit more but you are guaranteed to get your hands on one. There is an option of taking a risk and trying to get a reduced on Christmas Eve but there is always the chance you won’t get one and will end up rummaging around the freezer looking for an alternative – I’m not sure anyone would be very impressed with Turkey Twizzlers for their dinner! Another alternative is to scrap the turkey all together and get a nice piece of beef or lamb.

Make Your Own Cards

It sounds cheesy but everyone appreciates a home-made card, anyone could go into a shop and pick up a pack of cards but making them shows you’ve really thought about that person – they don’t need to know you are doing it to save money! A great way of making cards is to simply cut last year’s cards up and attach them onto some nice card – just don’t send it to the person who gave you the card last year! Another great tip to remember is to buy your Christmas cards and wrapping paper for the following year in January when all the shops are desperate to shift them.

So now you have the knowledge, you just need to come to terms with the fact that you’re going to have to start your Christmas shopping a few months early! Just focus on the image of you sat with your feet up, glass of wine in one hand, mince pie in the other, several days before the 25th, safe in the knowledge that you are fully prepared for a stress free and relaxing Christmas.

A budget Christmas may not seem particularly luxurious but judging by the amount of high street shops advertising huge discounts and sales left right and centre – splashing the cash just isn’t fashionable when it comes to Christmas 2012.

This article was written by Meredith Watts on behalf of Aspire Money; providers of bad credit loans to give you a helping hand when times are tough, even if you have poor credit or a CCJ.


Start Earning Christmas Funds Now, the Fun Way

If you think it seems like retailers are starting to display Christmas merchandise sooner than ever before, you’re right. Holiday goods have already hit the shelves in some stores and will be appearing in others shortly. Santa himself will be at the mall before you know it!

It’s not unusual for people to take on part-time jobs during the holiday season to help raise a little extra cash for Christmas gifts, but it’s also possible to start earning Christmas funds now, the fun way! Here are six suggestions to get you started:

1. Garage Sale

Most of us hang on to junk that we don’t need for sentimental reasons or just because we’re too lazy to take it to the donation center. Drag the goods to your garage and have a garage sale one weekend. Baby clothes and toys as well as other items for kids, toddlers and babies; CDs and DVDs you no longer use; framed artwork that you haven’t displayed in years; and books and magazines you’ve already read are all great items to get rid of. Don’t have enough stuff to hold your own garage sale? Get a friend or two to join in. More stuff for sale means more shoppers will drop by. You’ll get rid of unwanted items and make some extra money for Christmas.

2. TreasureTrooper

TreasureTrooper.com is a free service that provides several different money-making opportunities. Once you register, you can get paid to take surveys or sample products. You can even refer friends to the site and get a commission on the amount that they earn. It’s a fun and easy way to make money from home, which is perfect for people with full-time jobs or busy stay at home moms.

3. Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace where people buy and sell handmade or vintage items. Have a passion for making soap and candles or own an antique tea set? Register for an Etsy account or sign up with your Facebook account and start selling. It’s a great way to create an online business selling the arts and crafts that you enjoy making anyway.

4. Blog Income

If you have a blog, consider utilizing pay per click advertising services like Google AdSense, selling ad space on your home page, or writing sponsored posts (paid posts) for companies that want you to promote their goods or services. You could also do a bit of freelance work for another blog or company, writing or taking photos for their website—for a fee, of course.

5. Party Plan Marketing

The success of Tupperware parties that began in the 1950s has morphed into an entire industry. You can host “selling parties” in which you sell items like kitchen goods, cosmetics, or candles (think The Pampered Chef, Avon, or Scentsy) and earn extra spending money for Christmas. It’s usually possible to get started with these types of programs very quickly. When the people who attend your party make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale. If the party guests decide to let you host parties in their homes or become a party host themselves, you will earn commission on those sales, too. You can literally earn money while having fun with your friends.

If you’d like to start earning Christmas money now without taking on a second job, consider one of these five fun ideas instead!

Michael “Big Mike” McCaffery loves to assist people in finding the right career for them.  He works at a place he truly enjoys, Go Dish, and invites you to see some of their tweets about new products and services, as well.


Getting an Emergency Cash Advance for Christmas

Getting an Emergency Cash Advance for Christmas

For those who need a little extra money during the holiday season, a cash advance can be the best solution. If you are like many others around the world, the holiday season is a time for joy, glad tidings, and a great deal of stress. Between the cost of presents, holiday meals, decorations, and travel, bank accounts and energy stores get drained in almost equal fashion. Choosing to get a cash advance can take alleviate much of the stress so that you can spend your time enjoying the holidays instead of worrying about money.

How to Get an Emergency Cash Advance

There are a number of ways to get cash fast when you need it. Some banking institutions are able to offer home equity lines of credit or home equity loans, though these sometimes can take a while to be approved and are many times not approved at all. Credit card holders may also be able to get some cash through their cards, though this is usually dependent upon the bearer’s credit rating and how much available credit is left on the card. A more certain way to get emergency cash is through a payday loan company.

How Do Cash Advances Work?

Payday loan companies, when used responsibly, are an excellent resource for quick cash. In most instances, you write the loan company a check for the amount you need as well as a fee for the money. The loan company holds onto the check until you are able to pay. If you can’t pay the money back at the time you had planned, they will continue to charge fees. For those who do not have checking accounts, there are sometimes other arrangements can be made. Interest rates and payment schedules will be made available to you at the time you take out the loan.

Why Do Cash Advances Have a Bad Reputation?

There are plenty of opinions available when it comes to cash advances, particularly from payday loan institutions. Overuse of anything, from video games to potato chips, can cause unsavory consequences, and the same is true with cash advances. When a person abuses the service, they can find it difficult and even impossible to pay the agreed upon fees. However, when a person is responsible with their loans and pays the money back on time, they have nothing to worry about.

Where Can I Find a Cash Advance Company?

Most cities and towns have cash advance companies. Some are large, well known entities while others are mom and pop establishments. It is always best to use a company that has a good reputation. If you have the time, ask around and even call different cash advance companies to learn their interest rates. Even more convenient are payday loan companies with an online presence.

The holidays should be spent with loved ones, not pouring over financial records. If you find yourself in need of money to cover holiday expenses, a cash advance can help you get the peace of mind you need.


Budgeting Tips for a Spectacular Holiday

Budgeting Tips for a Spectacular Holiday

No matter how wonderful they turn out, the holiday season always seem to bring a lot of stress. While we all enjoy the holidays, not having to worry about them financially would make them even brighter. There are many things that can be done to create a spectacular holiday without the existence of enormous bills to deflate us after and create the mood commonly known as the holiday blues. In order to budget for a holiday, planning is a must. First figure out everything you will need in order to pull off your version of the perfect holiday. Here are a few tips to help you save while still out performing yourself as usual.

Decorations – If you are someone who wants the holiday to permeate your living area it is time to get a little crafty. There are many homemade items that will not only look beautiful but you can also gather the family and get them involved as well. When the family takes part in the holiday decorating, it gives it special meaning. As the years go by they will always remember the fun they had decorating the house for the holidays. If you have younger children have them help with stringing popcorn or making their own pictures to proudly display around the home. Older children can help make candles or ornaments adding that special touch of warmth.

The ideas are endless and relatively inexpensive compared to boxed items. Buying a tree gives the aroma of the great outdoors and brings back fond memories of when we were children before the holidays became a commercial event.

Meal time – Today with the chain stores all competing for every customer they can, there are always sales. Check your weekend flyers for sales on the items you will need for your holiday feast. The tough times can actually work to your advantage here. You may have to visit a few stores, but the savings will be well worth the effort. The dinner can be created with all family members participating adding yet another opportunity to have that closeness during the holidays. Desserts should be cooked at home to save some money. They are guaranteed to taste better too.

Gifts – While we all want to give our families everything they want, times are changing. It might be a good idea to get a main gift for all of the children to share if you have more than one. Depending on their ages and your budget there are many items out there that can be given as a combined gift. Children are more aware of the times than we sometimes give them credit for. They do not need to wear gold necklaces and receive hundreds of dollars worth of gifts each for the holiday. If you have been hit hard in the wallet these past few years do what you can, try not to put yourself in the position of having to bail out afterwards, this will only erase the fond memories you have worked so hard to create. Remember it is not what you give but rather that you give from the heart.

Christina Drury works for Without The Stress, a Same Day Passport Service in Los Angeles. In addition to Rush Passports, the company employs UK Visa Experts to assist busy travelers with obtaining student visas to the uk, settlement visas to the uk and work visas to the uk.


Why Daily Deals make Perfect Christmas Gifts

Why Daily Deals make Perfect Christmas Gifts

The festive season is looming large on the calendar and as usual you’re scratching your head and wondering what exactly to buy for everyone this year. If you can’t think beyond the usual cycle of socks, bath salts, chocolates and pullovers with reindeer on the front, help is at hand. Daily deals can make thoughtful and individual Christmas gifts that not only save you money, but are sure to be appreciated far more than yet another tin of Highland Shortbread

The joy of using a daily deals site to choose your Christmas gifts (apart from extraordinary discounts and avoiding the seasonal claustrophobia of the shopping centre) is that you can buy not only physical gifts such as jewellery, art or electronics, but also experiences that suit your recipient perfectly and can provide lasting memories.

Buying your Christmas gifts via a daily deals site couldn’t be easier. Enter your email address, the name of the largest city nearest to where you live, the types of deals you’re interested in and you’re done. Each day you’ll receive an email containing the very best discounted deals in your local area. Now all you have to do is choose the deals that would make ideal Christmas presents for your friends and family.

One of the biggest advantages of using a daily deals site to buy your perfect Christmas presents is the sheer choice of goodies on offer. Who could resist a day of pampering at your local spa? Who would appreciate a luxury weekend break in a five-star country hotel? How about a fine dining experience, a new satnav, an Ipod, the chance to drive a supercar or even a holiday in the sun? Better still, the intended recipient for your daily deals site Christmas gift may have already expressed a preference for something they’d like; all you have to do is find it and buy it at a huge discount and everybody’s happy.

So how exactly do daily deal sites work when it comes to gifting? In the normal course of events, you’ll spot the perfect deal that you’d like to take advantage of. You register your interest in the deal and the daily deals site emails you a voucher allowing you to purchase the product or service of your choice at the specified discount when you visit the retailer.

The good news is that the voucher you are emailed can, in most circumstances, be gifted to someone else for them to redeem. If this is your preferred method of gifting it’s worth pointing out that the daily deals voucher may have an expiry date for redemption; don’t panic the majority of vouchers are redeemable for up to twelve months.

In the case of physical items such as jewellery, furniture, electronics etc. you may have the option to have the item delivered to you, in which case you can simply wrap it up and hand it over as you would any other Christmas gift.

If you’ve chosen an experience such as a weekend break, spa treatment, gourmet meal or suchlike it may be difficult to be discreet about the fact that you have purchased this gift at a heavily discounted price. As always, there is a way around this which works to your benefit! Simply announce to your recipient(s) that for their Christmas gift you’re taking them out for a meal, weekend break, spa trip etc. By sharing the gift and attending yourself you can subtly use your voucher (or vouchers) when paying the bill, and you get to enjoy the experience yourself!

As with any gift, a little prior thought can be helpful before you dive in at the deep end and purchase your well-intended daily deals site Christmas presents. If you’re giving a voucher, make sure it has a suitable expiry date and that your recipient has the means to download and print it off. Are you sure your grandparents have internet access and email?

If you’re giving an experience rather than a physical gift, try to ensure that your recipient will actually be able to redeem it; for example, it’s no use buying someone a luxury weekend break if they never have a free weekend in which to use it.

Finally, make sure that you fully understand any additional cost implications of the deal that you’re giving as a gift. Read the small print. It’s not a good idea to gift someone a luxury meal worth £150.00 if there’s a condition that they have to spend a further £75.00 on wine in order to take advantage of the offer.

These considerations aside there’s no reason why this year you can’t make your friends and loved ones Christmas gifts that they’ll cherish and remember thanks to daily deals sites. Best of all, you’ll save plenty of cash and avoid the Christmas queues. When you buy your Christmas gifts from daily deals sites, giving really is its own reward.

Article by John from Deal Zippy, a daily deals comparison site full of great cheap christmas gift ideas from the leading daily deals websites.


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