For most families Christmas is a really expensive time of year and it takes a lot of planning and budgeting to make sure that you don't get into debt to buy the things that you need
Peanut and the golden child Christmas eve 2011!!!
Here are our 5 top tips for keeping on top of the Christmas budget
I don't have a great deal to put away every month but try and put £30 a month to spend at Christmas time. There are lots of great savings accounts around you just need to have a little look and shop around a bit to find the best access/interest for you
Everybody wants to be able to buy their kids everything they want, unfortunately it's just not possible you have to have a realistic budget and make sure you stick to it as much as you can. Now every family's budget is different but the important thing is knowing what you can afford and then sticking to it.
It's really easy when your children are little to plan ahead and buy things months in advance it's not quite as easy when your children get older and their Christmas list can change from day today even hour the hour. We try wherever possible to buy things in the sales, we know that we may not know what the big presents will be until close to Christmas time but things like clothes, Christmas pyjamas and stocking fillers generally follow the same pattern every year and so we can buy them in the sales throughout the year or pick them up when we see them on special.
We also know that there are certain things that will always go down a storm currently LEGO Star Wars and anything crafty these things can make it easier to plan in advance and by when shops have special offers on
4 Ask Family
I don't think its rude or unreasonably to have suggestions on hand for family and friend who buy for you children. Now I'm not talking catalogue numbers and unbreakable rules here, bu I know my family will ask what the kids are into right now or if there's anything they need, So broad suggestions like 'She's really into science right ow' Or 'he has seen x, y and z' are helpful for family members. It also opens a discussion so if you know your child is after a really expensive present people may want to chip in and help them get it. People love buying resents and really love buying the things that they know will be used and lived
5 Talk To Your Kids
Kids hear a lot in the playground about what others are getting for Christmas and its easy for them to start comparing , but I really believe its important for children to understand we are all different, our finances and priorities differ from family to family, for us we place higher importance on travel, experiences and holidays than expensive toys and our kids have all grown up with that ethos so they know our budget may be less than their pals'. We also give pocket money and encourage our kids to sell any toys they no longer play with in order to save for the new and expensive stuff, for example The Golden boy wants a Sound Moov but we've explained that his list has already gone to Santa so he may have to save for it himself. He's now selling his unused Playmobil and making a fair dent in his target!
I think children understand more than we give them credit for and I'd rather be open and honest with our kids to explain we can't afford 3 I pads than try to get into debt and 'keep up with the joneses' so to speak
So with money saving and Christmas in mind, I'm really pleased to be running a giveaway courtesy of Newcastle Building Society for this amazing Marks and Spencer Hamper
Simply fill out the form below to be in with a chance of winning Prize drawn on 10th December and winner must accept prize within 5 days of notification or an alternative winner will be drawn
How do you stay on track at Christmas?
T and C - UK entrants only , winner must reply by email within 5 days in order to accept prize winner will be disqualified and an alternative re drawn
*This is a collaborative post