With only seven Mondays left until Christmas, yes seven, the silly season is on everyone’s mind! This time of year, can make people anxious to be able to find the funds to pay for all the gifts, food, travel etc. With the silly season comes planning and in regards to your finances it should be a well thought out plan, so you are not leaving yourself short for the new year! Read below our tips on how we prepare for the silly season!
Plan for Christmas in your monthly budgets. This is a good tip to include in your New Year’s Resolutions perhaps and factor in gift giving into the monthly budget and start to put that money aside throughout the year. This then saves you stressing when it gets to Christmas to find that money.
If you cannot afford to put the money aside every week, start a list of everyone you must buy for and how much you need to spend. If you start now, this will save you stressing come December when you must buy gifts for everyone. Start with the smaller gifts maybe mum is $50, put aside $25 this week and next, and then you can buy her present already.
Look for the sales now! Resubscribe to certain websites at this time of year to make sure you are getting notifications when they have a sale. There are long weekends, Black Friday and ‘just because’ sales happening all before Christmas. You don’t need to wait until December to start buying products on sale.
Use your vouchers you haven’t used yet! We know some people like to use their vouchers as soon as they receive them however if you are one of those people who pops them in your wallet only to forget their existence, go and use them on your family and friends at Christmas. This way you are saving yourself money and not letting that voucher go to waste!
Get your family to set a limit for gifts that is suitable for everyone. We used to spend $150 on family alone at Christmas and this year we decided it was just too much! Christmas is about spending time with your family and friends not always about how big the limit is. Try and make the limit reasonable to what everyone can afford.
Avoid afterpay and laybuy. We know this is how some people fund Christmas however if you put that money aside now you wouldn’t have to fall into the trap of these schemes. If you are only doing one gift at a time and the payments are reasonable, and you can pay one off before setting up another, then go for it if it works for you. Just be aware that loading up all the presents onto these schemes can sometimes mean you are paying a rather large sum per week.
Make your own gifts. If you have a special talent maybe you can knit or do woodworking, look to make your gifts rather than buying them. A thoughtfully made gift can go a long way as people tend to appreciate the time and effort that went into them.
Buy second hand. Trade Me and Marketplace are your friend, and don’t forget the Opp Shops! If you know you can get something second hand at half the price, why wouldn’t you? We can promise you your family wouldn’t even know if you didn’t tell them. People are selling brand new items all the time. Have a look at these sites first before you buy brand new.
Withdraw the cash. If you like to spend money, withdraw the money for each gift on your Christmas List and put it into an envelope. This can be a good way to make sure you have all the funds for when that sale comes up and it can also be good to limit yourself to the amount you have withdrawn. If the limit is $50 another $20 won’t make a difference, right? It does make a difference! You haven’t budgeted for it! So, by having the cash, in that hot little envelope, tucked under your mattress, in the spare room, this limits you to only that amount to spend.
Start now! Starting early may led to some people laughing at you but the joke is on them when you have finished your Christmas shopping by the end of November and don’t have to stress about the money or the crowds of people. Perhaps buying a gift a week from October would work for you? On the note of buying early, start a stockpile of the ingredients that are not fresh for that Christmas day banquet you have been roped into.
Skip Christmas gift giving and head out early for the Boxing Day sales. Yes, this may be the craziest tip of all the tips we have suggested so far but boy you can get bang for buck and extend on that Christmas feeling of celebration a little longer. You’ll just have to tough out the crowds!
Christmas is a great time of year to be enjoyed, not to be stressed over. If you have a plan in place and start sooner rather than later, this can avoid the use of schemes which can get you into a hole which can be tricky to climb out of. Wouldn’t you rather pay for the funds this year rather than being in financial stress next year?
If you find you are stressing over Christmas, our money coaching could be for you. Send us an email to schedule your free consultation.