The decorations are up in the supermarkets, puddings are on sale, and advertising is becoming increasingly themed – Christmas is coming up fast! Christmas is a great time of year for a multitude of reasons; holidays, spending time with family and friends, delicious food – the list goes on! But, it’s also an extremely expensive time of year, and for many families, finances can get a little tight. There are many financial elements to consider during the Christmas and New Year’s period: the kids are home, gifts for family and friends, food (and food, and more food!), decorations, and all the bits and pieces that you’ll need if you’re holding an event. So, we’ve come up with a list of things to consider in the lead-up to Christmas to help you save and use your money effectively.
1) Make a list, and check it twice
Planning is all about lists. We suggest firstly, making a list of the expenses you’ll need to consider – food, a Christmas tree, gifts, cards, and so on. Budget out what you can, so that you have at least a basic idea of what sort of funds you’ll need. Make sure you don’t forget about the little things like wrapping paper, a present for your child’s teacher, decorations for the patio. Another handy list could be the people you plan to buy gifts for – there’s always, without fail, a last minute present dash a few days before Christmas – why not avoid that (expensive) rush and plan in advance!
2) Buy up now
It’s still mid-November, so prices haven’t been hiked up for Christmas yet. Buy your gifts, wrapping paper, and whatever food you can now – they’ll be at reasonable prices for another few weeks. We also suggest shopping at supermarkets and budget stores as much as possible – not only will you save a significant amount of money, you might score some great bargains!
3) Get web-savvy
Gifts are often the most expensive element of Christmas. Everyone has to be considered: partners, kids, family members, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, and so on. Shopping in standard retail stores can work okay (particularly if you take the advice at number 2!), but online shopping is even better. Gifts are usually cheaper, there’s a much, much wider range of options, it’s easy to find a unique present that your friend or family member won’t already receive, and if you start shopping now your gifts will easily ship in time.
4) Budget, budget, budget
Budgeting is really what it all comes down to, in order to remain debt free (or in control of your debts) over the Summer holiday period. Plan out your expenses in advance, then know exactly how much you’ll have to spend over the holidays. Are you working, or getting paid with leave? Or, are you (or your partner) taking leave without pay? Are you dipping into savings, or perhaps giving your credit card a work-out? Consider in advance what your plan is, and don’t forget you’ll also have regular expenses – water, electricity, internet bills, plus mortgage or rental payments. Don’t get ahead of yourselves, and lay everything out on the table.
Lastly, ask for help if you need it! There’s no shame in needing a little help managing debts, particularly over such an expensive period. Financial advisors are trained in knowing exactly how to tailor your finances to stretch over the holiday period – and to ensure you come out the other side with post-Christmas funds.
lifeafterdebt.com.au boasts a team of professional, experienced advisors who are prepared to help you become debt free. Contact us now on 1300 237 669 or take a look at our website today for more information or to book a consultation.