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A bag of presents for less than a bag of money – how to financially survive Christmas

Why can you feel like a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” contestant after two days of celebrations? How can you make a 30% discount into 40%? And what cushion can you really rest on after the New Year? We have compiled some tips on how to introduce the magic of Christmas into your wallet.

Cosmetics for an aunt, building blocks for a nephew and jewelry for mum for Christmas. A carp, pierogi dumplings and Polish Greek-style fish for the table. These constitute only a small percent of the expenses during the Christmas time. How should you approach them to avoid stepping into the New Year in the red? Read on to find out a few ways.
It’s good to have a plan
Are you impatient to grab a piece of paper and a pen? Or are you looking for the Excel icon on your desktop to make a legendary shopping list? Wrong. First of all, grab your phone and agree a Christmas plan with your family and friends. You are going to need answers to the following questions:
- where are you meeting?
- are you going to need additional transport?
- who prepares what?
- what is the gift giving arrangement going to be?
The last item above needs a few words of explanation. Remember that presents aren’t the most important element of Christmas. The most important thing is common sense. Suggest a simple solution to your family – drawing names of persons for whom you will buy Christmas presents, or a price limit on individual gifts for everyone.  
Only now can you start making your shopping list. Try to estimate how much money you’re going to need. Another challenge will be to spend it according to prior assumptions. There is something you should keep in mind: Apart from presents and dishes, Christmas also means:
- gift bags or paper – the bigger the size, the more expensive the bag,
- a Christmas tree – unless you keep an artificial tree in your basement or do not decorate a tree,
- decorations, such as tablecloths, mistletoe, candles and other accessories to decorate your apartment and give it a Christmas charm.
Note! Forget about shopping for yourself before Christmas. Even if the dress in the shop window is so gorgeous or you assume that you have the right to enjoy yourself a little. Why? This will be explained a few paragraphs below.
There’s no point in discussing saving money in advance or buying presents three months before Christmas. It’s too late for this kind of advice now, but what you should keep in mind is a possible lifeline, such as Christmas special offers with a credit card.
Assess your debt 
Imagine you wake up on December 27. Having done your morning routine, you check your account balance. How is it doing? Like in “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, there are four possible answers to this question:  
a. It’s good!
b. Not very good, but stable.
c. Where did I make a mistake?
d. Can I fall into a winter rest and wake up after I’ve got my salary?
We definitely wish you to be able to answer A. However, life can write different scenarios. Instead of crying over spilled milk, you need to act. A credit card could come to your rescue, and there is no issuance fee. You can repay the financial help over 56 days without worrying about interest. Nor do you have to set reminders on your phone, as they are sent to you by text message free of charge.
Sales are even cheaper
Remember the advice that you shouldn’t focus on yourself before Christmas? It’s time to find out why! The post-Christmas period is the best time to do just that! Sales at stores with clothes and electronics are far better than those on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. So if you’re planning a new outfit for the New Year’s Eve – hold on a moment longer.
You can benefit even more from price reductions with the  Citi Specials program, which gives you permanent discounts at specific stores. Want an example?
- 10% off at Wittchen – isn’t it a good excuse to get a clutch purse for the New Year’s Eve?
- 15% off at Top Secret – a new jumper will be perfect for colder days.
- 10% off at SWISS – enjoy a new watch.
New Year – new expenses
It is worth setting budget goals still before the New Year’s or at the beginning of the new year. Apart from the obvious things, such as writing down your expenses and setting limits for yourself, there is one more important issue – the so-called financial cushion. You will be able to sleep well at night knowing you have some money put aside and realizing how you can skillfully use a loan on a rainy day.
Instead of avoiding it completely and saying you’re never going to apply for one, you should find out more first, so that you don’t have to make a rush decision in a crisis. It doesn’t matter what you need the cash for, what matters is: flexibility, minimum formalities and will the money be available to you within one hour?
Now you know how to survive financially the approaching fever, but here’s one more piece of advice for you: Christmas is an amazing time – don’t let talks about money spoil that. Merry Christmas ;)
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