As lovely as Christmas is it’s also a very expensive and stressful time financially for many families, especially if you are on a tight budget. It’s hard not to go overboard and buy things you really don’t need with so many advertisements and sales pitches in the shops, magazines, tv and so on. Then there’s the expense of attending social occasions (hello babysitters) which are obviously more often this time of year.
I’m big on budgeting anyway but especially at Christmas. I like to know where I stand because it really is so easy to get carried away in the hype of Christmas.
This year Bank of Ireland has collaborated with financial literacy expert Frank Conway of MoneyWhizz to help parents plan a stress and debt-free Christmas and get off to a good start in 2017.
Frank will be presenting free Christmas budgeting seminars for parents in Waterford, Galway and Dublin this month in association with Bank of Ireland.
· WATERFORD: Thursday, November 17th (now over, sorry) in the Bank of Ireland Ardkeen from 6pm to 8pm. Boi.com/waterfordevent
· GALWAY: Tuesday, November 22nd in the Bank of Ireland Mainguard Street from 6pm to 8pm. Link to register to this event – Boi.com/galwayevent
· DUBLIN: Tuesday, November 29th in the Bank of Ireland branch Montrose from 6pm to 8pm. Link to register to this event – Boi.com/montroseevent
To give you a taste of what to expect at the seminars here is Franks top 5 tips for a more stress-free Christmas:
- Start early: Everyone envies those clever people who start their Christmas shopping early for good reason. Being organised means you can keep an eye out for bargains in the lead up to Christmas and spread the cost of gifts over many months.
- Make a list and check it twice: Having a realistic Christmas gift list of who you need to buy for completed early means that you can do your research allowing accurate budging and avoiding any last-minute panic spending.
- Leave the credit card at home: Using your credit card to pay for items in the lead up to Christmas is so tempting but it can be one of the most expensive forms of borrowing. A credit card really should be used as a credit ambulance, i.e. only when you really need it. Leave it at home when you go shopping and instead only bring your cash and debit card.
- Turn your advent calendar into an event calendar: Gifts are undoubtedly one of the biggest burdens on our pockets in the lead up to Christmas, but so are events. Big social gatherings like weddings and parties can require a big chunk of change when you take babysitters, accommodation, gift, transport and outfits into consideration. Keep a calendar of all your planned activities and put a realistic expense beside each so you can accurately track what you can afford.
- A fresh approach: More and more, I hear of people agreeing a spending limit or doing Secret Santa with friends and family and it is a fantastic idea. Teaching children that there is a limit is a great way of showing them how to manage their own money.
The free seminars will cover a range of topics to help attendees evaluate their relationship with money and guide them through prioritising wants and needs.
I think these are some great life skills if you want to learn to manage your money better and it’s an amazing life skill to pass on to your kids. I see so many people my age not in the habit of budgeting and get into serious debt so it’s something I want my kids to be aware of.
As well as the seminars, Frank has worked with Bank of Ireland to produce a new series of FREE money management education magazines called ‘Ollie’ for teachers and students in primary schools throughout Ireland. You can download a copy here. It’s actually really good with great tips for kids aged 7-11.
If you plan on going to one of the seminars don’t forget to register via the links above. Happy budgeting.
*This is a sponsored post in association with Bank of Ireland. Opinions expressed are my own.