As the festive season fast approaches, spending worries often make relaxing with friends and loves ones a little difficult. To avoid the problems with overspending over Christmas, it’s important to take the time to carefully plan and purchase gifts.
And although Dubai shops and malls seem to be forever rolling out the sales, planning ahead can help you save more Dirhams than you might think.
So, here are some top tips to help you during the holiday season. Let’s do away with those money troubles and keep up the festive cheer!
Make a budget and stick to it
This is the simplest and the most obvious step towards save money over the holiday period. But it can also be the hardest to stick to. By writing down how much you plan to spend on presents, food, and other frivolities, it becomes easier to resist impulse spending on unnecessary extras.
Plan your gift list in advance
It’s important to plan ahead when it comes to gifts. One of the easiest ways to save money is to shop for presents throughout the year. If you’re organised enough, you can even save a bunch on your Christmas shopping at Dubai Shopping Festival during the summer.
But if you’re too late for that, don’t worry. Between November 22 and 25, there are over 300 shops taking part in ‘Black Friday’ and ‘White Friday’ clearance sales. The big online retailers are taking part, and plenty of the shops in the malls will have slashed their prices as well. If you’re looking at big-ticket items such as electronics or furniture, you’ll definitely save if you shop between those dates.
Making a list of who you’ve bought for will also help. You don’t want to lose track of who you have and haven’t bought gifts for.
Cut back on the extras
Indulging on Pumpkin-spiced lattes with extra foam and chocolate shavings, treating yourself to a pair of shoes for your Christmas work do, or paying for a photo with Santa – we’re all guilty of spending a little more than we should simply because it’s the holiday season.
But paying for those ‘extras’ ends up eating into your budget. Cutting back on those extras can have a big impact in the long run. For example, if you spend AED 23 on a Toffee Nut Latte three times per week throughout December, that’s AED 276 you’ve spent in one month.
It’s the new, easy way to shop. Heading online to shop for Christmas not only saves you facing the crowds, but it can help you save money. You can do a web search specifically for discounted items that you can buy. Online shopping will also give you a wider variety.
With that in mind, when shopping online, you’ll also need to take in account any shipping fees or delivery fees. And, obviously, you’ll have to ensure that your items will actually be delivered in time for Christmas.
Cashback credit cards
If you’re already sensible with money, you might prefer to shop using a credit card that rewards you for spending. Cashback credit cards reward you by crediting a percentage of spending back onto your card. Other rewards cards will let you build up points that can be exchanged for air miles or other gifts. But it’s just as vital to pay back what you’ve borrowed at the end of the month, otherwise the interest your spending accrues may wipe out the value of the rewards you’ve earnt. Be responsible with your repayments, and you may find that your credit card helps pay for another gift for someone.
Know when to stop
When your list is finished, and you’ve checked it twice, it’s time to stop shopping. Know when you’re finished. The worst thing you can do is head to a mall “just to see what they have” – this can lead you to blowing out your budget.
Start planning for next year
Once this holiday season is done and dusted, and all the mince pies have gone, it’s time to start planning ahead for next year. If you missed out on the sales throughout the year, or didn’t set a budget soon enough then there’s no such thing as ‘too-soon’. You can start improving your spending for next year.
You can start saving now by setting money aside in a savings account and contributing a small amount to it every payday. You can also start buying presents throughout the year rather than in one big bulk.