With everyone tightening their purse strings (and considering pawning the purse), the approach of the Christmas season signals the onset of stress and anxiety, which can easily overshadow the fun.

As it’s the start of November, it’s that time of year to start checking the couch for extra cash and stretching that income to cover the charitable giving that picks up around this time of year.

I relish at the excuse to go shopping & give people presents.

I love spending time finding a special gift that someone will really appreciate. But living on a shoestring budget tends to put a depressing spanner in the works.

Christmas is a stressful enough time of year, with businesses shutting down, people having to make travel plans and families coming together.

You don’t need to be worrying about gifting too.

If you’re like me and have neglected your Christmas savings here are some tips:

  1. Set yourself an Xmas budget and stick to it!
  2. Start looking for gifts several months early (it’s November already) and stockpiling them. This will help you avoid the mad rush a week before Xmas. A lot of business close a couple of weeks before Xmas and have their end of year parties at the end of November. So it helps to get those gifts early.
  3. Cash in on sales. If you make sure to start your shopping early enough, you can take the advantage of buying sales items.
  4. Remember that no matter what, all business slows down two weeks before and after the Christmas and New Year period. So to avoid frustration get all that business and life admin out of the way early so you can enjoy the festivities with your loved ones.
  5. Save yourself the headache in the new year and avoid maxing out your credit card.
  6. Set a limit to how much you spend on each other. Some of us have large families and friendship circles, so buying gifts can easily snowball into an exorbitant affair.
  7. Be charitable, not everyone can afford to buy presents. Take the opportunity to purge yourself of needless or old or out-of-fashion Christmas decorations and clothes, and donate them to the needy. That won’t cost you anything at all.
  8. Do your shopping on the internet, in many cases it is faster, cheaper and more convenient.
  9. Use your skint budget to encourage you not to binge over the holidays and keep the post-Xmas spread at bay.

Lastly, remember that Christmas is not about shopping frenzies and maxing out your credit card. It is about re-connecting with family and friends, relaxing and loving.

“Christmas is a race to see which gives out first — your money or your feet.”

E.C. McKenzie