No matter what your income, Christmas can (and often does) strain the budget and despite knowing Christmas is on 25th December EVERY December, it can still creep up and take us unawares.
January is a bleak enough month already without receiving a credit card bill that got out of hand, so how can you enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank?
Here's how to spend less this Christmas without feeling like scrooge!
There are lots of practical ways around this, like Moneysaving at Christmas by The Diary Of A Frugal Family. Excellent ideas to stop you overspending, or 100 simple homemade gift ideas by Mums Make Lists (But its not just for mums!), What to do when Santa's broke, by One beautiful home blog or subscribe to Martin Lewis's Money Saving Expert newsletter, which has amazing tips and up the the minute special offers.
Sometimes it feels more than just wanting to find the right gift for the right person.
Sometimes the desire to please others puts you under intense pressure and will drive you to disregard your own needs and potentially get yourself into debt rater than tell people that you need to cut back this year.
Lets look a little closer...
Most people want to make others happy, but for some people this can become a problem: if you're a people pleaser, you're driven to please above and beyond what is reasonable.
And you worry about what people will think of you:
So a people pleaser would prefer to endure financial difficulty rather than risk that people might feel badly about them.
But the reality is, anyone that cares about you will not want to see you struggling financially and will completely understand if you are budgeting.
I have friends that are going through some difficulties financially and they have explained they are only buying for the kids in the family, and that seems fair enough to me.
Anyone that judges you harshly because of not wanting to get into debt - well, it says more about them than it does you. If they are happy to see you struggle, they aren't very good friends.
People pleasers take other peoples emotions to heart. If you are with someone who is sad, you will see it as your role to make them feel better.
So at Christmas, you want everyone to be happy.
You don't want people to be disappointed by not receiving a present from you, or something smaller than usual.
We're grown ups!
We don't peer out of the window on Christmas eve scouring the sky for the fat jolly fella any more, or kid ourselves that we really can hear jingle bells (or maybe it was just me that did that?).
Let's face it, if we REALLY want something, we go and buy it! And isn't it just as disappointing when on boxing day all you have is a recycling bin full or packaging and paper, and a shelf full of tat you neither want or need?
Many people will actively welcome a more frugal Christmas, and often by setting a spending limit it encourages us to find something more personal, more thoughtful.
So here's a question to ponder - what is the meaning of Christmas for you?
Is it a time for family? A time for your faith? Or a preamble to a January of living off value beans on value toast and dreading the credit card statement?
Self care isn't just about a monthly massage or drinking kale smoothies (thank God!). Self care involves looking after all aspects of your life, including staying out of financial difficulties and all that entails, like stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, worry, doing without etc.
So be realistic this year, set a budget and talk with people if you are cutting back.
You deserve a debt free January.
And if you need help prioritizing your own needs, contact me.
Jane Travis is a qualified and experienced counsellor and clinical supervisor in the Lincoln area. She has been working at Reflections Counselling Lincoln since 2005. She also helps other counsellors and therapists market and grow their private practices at JaneTravis.co.uk.