Christmas isn’t coming, it’s already here! For most of us, December is when the reality of Christmas really kicks in and has us scrambling to get organised.
Take control of your spending so you can enjoy quality time with friends and family.
Here are some easy ways to spread Christmas cheer without burning a hole in your pocket.
Create a budget for your seasonal shopping. Segment your spending into smaller categories such as presents, food, decorations, travel and donations. Important household expenses should be a key priority. You don’t want to miss a payment on your mortgage, insurance, or car. These should be taken care of first before you splash your cash.
Make a list and check it twice. Write a list of the people you need to buy for and what you intend to buy them. This will give you a good indication of what you can and can’t afford. Don’t forget those that look after you during the year such as your local barista, dry cleaner, gardener etc. A little can go a long way.
Spare a thought for those less fortunate by volunteering time if monetary gifts aren’t an option or a donation isn’t enough.
Get in early. Don’t get caught out making panic purchases at the eleventh hour because you’ve put off buying gifts and supplies. Spread your spending over the month(s) by shopping early, and make sure you tick items off your list as you go.
Try to avoid using your credit card and resist the temptation of spending beyond your means. Credit card interest rates can add 20% on top of the purchase price if you don’t meet the due date on your credit card statement.
Shop with cash and only go into a store if you have your list with you. This will help keep your budget in check and eliminate unnecessary spending.
We all have our favourite shops. Make sure you follow them on social media and subscribe to their email alerts so you can be the first to know when they have a sale or special offer.
If you can send a gift digitally such as a card, e-book or gift voucher, then do it. This will keep your postage costs down, especially if you have friends and family overseas.
If you're Christmas shopping online, be frugal. Before you start, google your way to a discount or coupon codes that you can use at the checkout.
Want versus need. Sure, we all love a bit of splurging and spoiling, but if you find yourself second-guessing a purchase at the checkout, chances are you already know it belongs back on the shelf. This is also a great question to ask yourself when buying for kids – don’t go over the top on expensive gifts they have a short life span, buy them something constructive and long lasting.
Don’t be roped in with store card discount offers or special options to pay over a longer period of time. Whilst these offers may seem like a deal, they could end up costing you over time. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Great presents don’t have to be pricey. If you’re an exceptional cook or home brewer, whip up a batch of tasty treats.
Start a new tradition with a family Secret Santa! This way everyone gets a gift and nobody breaks the bank. A great idea for the adults in the family.
Minimise meal costs by asking everyone to bring a plate of food and a bottle of wine.
Ditch the expensive wrapping paper and gift bag. Replace them with handmade gift decorations - get the kids on the job.
Recycle your gifts. If the red wine your neighbour bought you doesn’t tickle your fancy, re-gift it to someone who would appreciate it. Don’t let these gifts go to waste.
If you’ve accumulated frequent flyer or rewards points over the year, now is a great time to redeem them for trips, accommodation and gifts.
The Christmas-New Year period should be relaxing and enjoyable rather than financially stressful. The easiest way to alleviate any financial pressure is to plan in advance and work within a budget.
Make your Christmas fun – not a financial burden?
It can really help to create a financial roadmap with the help of a professional. Why not call us to arrange an appointment on 02 9328 0876.
General Disclaimer: This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.