When times are tough, the last thing you want to do is disappoint your family, especially the kids!
It’s even harder when it’s annual celebrations such as Easter. Having to admit you can’t afford the things you take for granted is difficult.
But is it worth getting into financial problems over?
Getting into more debt?
Borrowing money from friends?
Every financial decision we make when it comes to what we spend our money on needs be taken into consideration.
Everyone could do with pausing before spending.
So, this Easter, why not do something different – take control of your finances?
And you can do that by:
- Managing Your Debts
Yet still, have fun by freshening up your Easter celebrations so they don’t break the bank!
Okay, first up:
Due to the high cost of living, it’s even more necessary to have a budget that helps us save money and invest in our future.
So, it’s essential to learn how to budget to make the most of our income.
It’s easy to lose control, let your hair down and go wild with spending at times of annual public celebrations.
Being reckless with your money, in other words.
This Easter, sit down, go through your recent bank statement, see where your money is at and do the following:
a. Set a spending limit
b. Prioritise expenses
c. Find ways to save money
It might be hard to do, but even taking 15 minutes to think about it can be enlightening!
It feels good afterwards.
Because taking control is a very powerful feeling.
Why not take a look at your bank balance and identify the payments that are leaving your account as direct debits or subscription charges (like Netflix, Amazon Prime), as well as any upcoming bills or expenses.
Tally those outgoings up to see roughly how much money you would have left over for the month.
That end amount provides some of what you might call your disposable income for the rest of the month.
Easter is early this year, so you may have loads of monies going out by the end of April.
The key is to pre-empt your expenses, look ahead at what is going to be deducted.
That now gives you a starting point for working out an Easter Budget.
You can say, right, I have this much to spend on Easter and I am going to stick to it.
That should include food for Easter lunch, as well as Easter eggs!
It might be those that are more important than anything else for you and your family.
But of course, there is Good Friday too and Easter Bank Holiday Monday!
Not to mention 2 weeks of school half term holidays.
Easter can be a VERY expensive time of year.
But you have to say yourself – okay, I am going to be disciplined, tough with myself and see this through.
Being determined to take control of your money is a really motivating force.
It’s best you actually inform the family of your spending plans this time around.
Gather your kids around.
Be upfront with them that times are hard, and you don’t want to get into debt or increase your debts.
You can explain that if you don’t cut back now, then there may be other things you won’t be able to do later in the year – an upcoming birthday treat or summer holiday.
Yes, it might feel like a daunting thing to do, but much of how we act and behave during times of public celebrations is all down to “social convention.”
If everyone is doing it, then we feel obliged to do the same.
But it’s important not to feel pressured by society, especially when money is at stake, and you need it to invest in your financial future.
Okay, next up…
This is linked to Budgeting.
Once you have set your budget, then saving money is the knock-on effect
Now, as mentioned before, you might go a little crazy with your spending at Easter (or Christmas or birthdays), but once you have decided on a budget, you should find it easier to do the following for starters:
- Avoid impulse buys
- Reduce unnecessary expenses
You can then
Take advantage of sales
For instance, how many times in the past will you have spent £5+ each on a chocolate Easter egg spending £20-£30+ in total, only to find those same eggs are half-price or less the very next day on Bank Holiday Monday?
It happens all the time, every year.
In fact, this is exactly what happens at Christmas too, isn’t it, when the Boxing Day sales kick in?
That item you spent £50 on is now £25!
It’s sickening when you put it into perspective, because you know that store is still making a profit on that £25!
So, if you can, why not save £’s by waiting till the sales this Easter?
Another useful act to start getting into is…
- Managing Your Debts
As indicated earlier, the last thing you want to be doing this Easter is incurring more debt.
Again, getting tough with yourself now is a great way to begin making big changes in your life.
If you have debts, then clearing them should be a priority so that you can use what you save for trading investments.
So, this Easter…
a. Prioritise payments
b. Avoid new debt
One way to manage debt is by negotiating with creditors.
For instance, if you have a mortgage, you can contact your lender and talk through any options to reduce your payments.
Or try finding a new credit card provider offering lower interest rates.
It’s worth running a credit check to find out exactly where you stand, as you may discover there is incorrect data there which may be hampering your finances.
You might also want to consider using some of your savings to pay-off a bit more of your debt as this helps speed up total repayment as well as cut costs/fees.
Again it, might be unbearable to think about making savings during Easter, but it’s a great time to start.
Alternative Ways to Celebrate Easter!
It would be fair to say that most families have a set way of doing things at Easter.
Maybe it’s Easter lunch out at your favourite restaurant or eatery.
A traditional trip to the cinema.
Maybe you do both over the weekend on top of cooking a feast of a meal at home.
If you already have a rough idea how much that costs you every year, then remind yourself.
You could be looking at around £500 in total, right?
That is a LOT of money.
So this year consider…
A Potluck Dinner
This is a popular family and friends occasion in the USA at Easter and involves all those attending to bring something to the special meal rather than you have to do it all – i.e. you might cook the main meal, someone else brings the starter, and others will bring the dessert, with drinks provided by other guests.
Watch a Movie at Home
Instead of spending an absolute bomb at the cinema, you can make a great event by staging movie nights at home with your family.
Even spread it over the long weekend – it’s the perfect time to watch all those Harry Potter’s again or Lord of the Rings!
This is something you do anyway as a family, but doing more of it is great at Easter as you can make a real occasion of it and set up a whole tournament featuring different activities such as board games, Jenga or Twister or whatever are your family favourites.
If playing games is not something you usually do… then try it! It can be great fun and passes the time away.
If you give presents at Easter as well as chocolate eggs (or another confectionary), then your costs must be HUGE!
So one way to maintain your gift-giving is by re-gifting – in other words, you can pass on gifts that have been given to you onto others.
There is no shame in doing this as no one is going to know… unless you happen to make the faux pas in returning it as a gift to the person who gave it to you in the first place!
Whatever you decide to do this year, there are many ways to celebrate Easter and still have a great time with family and friends.
Besides, it gives you a chance to get creative and try new things… and as we have already explored, making changes in life can be a fantastic game-changer.
As learning investing is.
There comes a time when we all realise at some point how important taking control of one’s finances is. There is no time like the present to make a start, but too often, it’s a case of “I’ll do it tomorrow” and of course, that tomorrow never comes.
But when you think about it, Easter, Bank Holidays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, even Birthdays… they are all one day, then they are over.
The point is, spending when you haven’t got the money to do so is insane, especially when you can still enjoy family celebrations in other ways that don’t cost a fortune.
Try it, you might be surprised by how life-changing it can be!