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How I’m planning for Christmas in April
You know those crazy people on Facebook who, in mid February start sharing posts of how many weeks it is until Christmas? I’m not one of them, don’t worry. In fact, I’m the sort of person who still recoils in horror when shops are all decked out by October 1st. Sell the gift sets by all means, but if you ask me, we don’t need tinsel in our faces and Mariah on repeat until December 1st. (Then I’m all for it, but not a second before.)
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t given Christmas a second thought. In my old, full time job, it didn’t really need a second thought as the money was always there in my November paypacket to cover the expenses. I learnt the hard way 3 years ago, part time and 25k a year lighter, that suddenly I didn’t have hundreds of pounds spare each month to cover it. So I did what many other people do – stuck the lot on my credit card and tried to forget about it.
On that note, if you are struggling to get organised for Christmas, Becca Blogs it Out has some great tips here.
I dread to think how much interest that Christmas has cost me, or whether some of those items still make up the £4000 balance on my card that I have made my goal to pay off this year. Still, what’s done is done, and 2 Christmases ago I got smarter and began to save £100 a month with the aim that I should have more than enough in the budget. This worked reasonably well, but I found it was too tempting to dip into this money for legitimate things such as Car MOT, expenses for a friend’s wedding etc. It was still an improvement as it meant these things didn’t go on my credit card, but I soon realised I needed a separate fund for Christmas as well as this “Everyday emergency” money.
This is where Plum has been a big help. For those who don’t know, Plum is an automated money management app that can be installed onto your Android or iOS phone. It is safe to use and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but if you wish to find out more about how it works you can visit the FAQ here.
I initially signed up to Plum last April (2017) and it managed to set aside over £350 by the end of November without me even noticing! Considering I only work 3 days a week I think this is a fantastic amount.
Update August 2020: Plum has now put away almost £2000 for me! You can read more here
That money was earmarked to put towards an American Fridge bought in the Black Friday sales, but this year I decided I would use it for my Christmas budget. Although it is easy to access your money with Plum, it is not instant, and withdrawals take up to 24 hours on a working day so it is much harder for me to dip into it. In fact, other than checking my balance every so often, I try and forget it is even there.
Since I emptied the account to pay for the fridge and started again, it has managed to squirrel away just under £180.00 in 4 months. With another 7 months until Black Friday (when I start and end my Christmas gift shopping) I am hoping this will be between £500-600 which will comfortably cover my gift shopping, leaving me with some for the Christmas food – or for the sales in the new year!
If you are interested in growing your money effortlessly with Plum, you can sign up here.
Want more ways to save money for Christmas? Hayley from Miss Manypennies has it covered.