There’s nothing quite like Christmas for evoking memories of long, lazy summer days, presents under the tree, and BBQ’s on the beach. Unfortunately, for many people though, Christmas can be a stressful time too. Coping with extra expenses at this time of year without blowing the budget is a challenge. Here are our tips for doing just that.
Avoid waiting until the very last minute to do your Christmas shopping when you’ll inevitably end up overspending simply because you’re under pressure. Instead, try to spread your Christmas expenses across the entire year by buying something each month and putting it away until Christmas time. Look out for seasonal sales throughout the year, where you can stock up on more affordable gift ideas.
If you do have to brave the Christmas shopping rush, take advantage of late night shopping to beat the crowds. Buy the smaller, less expensive gifts first before you tackle the bigger stuff so you know exactly how much you have to left to spend, and choose a shopping location that offers you everything you need in one convenient location. That way you’ll get in, get what you need, and get out without being tempted into overspending.
Make a list
Keeping track of Christmas expenses can be tricky but one way to avoid overspending is to make a list of everything you need to buy and then set a budget for each item. Use an online budget or tracking app to stay on top of your spending, and shop online where you can compare prices and deals from the convenience of your home.
Christmas needn’t be about the biggest, most expensive gifts. If you’re short of cash, try making a personalised gift, something thoughtful and practical: Home baking, a picnic or dinner experience, or a babysitting coupon.
Stay focused on your finances
It’s easy to get carried away during the silly season and end up spending more than you can realistically afford. By focusing on your long-term goals and avoiding splurging on extras you don’t really need, you’ll avoid that dreaded post-Christmas spending hangover.
If you’re serious about getting on top of your finances this Christmas, and you’re considering making 2018 a debt-free year, talk to one of our brokers about a financial plan to help get you there.
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