It’s hard to ignore the signs that Christmas is on its way. With shops getting decked out in yuletide splendour, it’s not long now until we’ll be sharing gifts and meals in celebration of the season. Which, for many of us, means it’s time to bring out the credit card and start spending.
While no-one likes a hangover, especially a financial hangover that follows us into the new year, it’s easy to get caught up in Christmas sales and specials. It may not seem like you’re spending a lot at the time, however even small amounts can add up quickly, leading to a January financial hangover.
If you’re determined to avoid a post-Christmas budget hangover this year, it’s time to start planning. Try out these Christmas budgeting tips to ensure you stick to a budget and avoid a financial hangover come January.
Christmas Budgeting Tips
Set a budget and stick to it
Before you head out to the shops, work out how much you can afford on Christmas this year. The best way to do this is to review your income and savings and compare this against your expected expenses for gifts, decorations, food, travel, bills and all other costs. Be realistic and account for everything so you know exactly what you can afford to spend and then make sure you stick to it!
Be purposeful in your spending
We’re all tempted by Christmas bargains but to avoid the post-Christmas hangover, you need to stay strong. Be purposeful in your spending and only purchase what you need in the way of gifts, food, and other festive items. Think carefully about who to include on your list and be realistic in your gift choices. Making a list, checking it twice and sticking to it will help you avoid a yuletide budget blowout.
Track your expenses
To stay honest, make sure you account for all your spending. Set up a spreadsheet with your Christmas budget, including your expected income and expenses. At the end of each day, list your actual expenses so you can track your spending. This will help you stay focused on your budget, on top of every expense and on track to avoid a January financial hangover.
Forget the credit card
It’s tempting to load all your expenses on the credit card to deal with later, but when it comes to Christmas, that’s not the best idea. To avoid a financial hangover in the new year, it’s important to resist spending more than you have. Leave your credit card at home and use a debit card for Christmas purchases. Go one step further and go old-school, only using cash to limit your spending.
Make the most of freebies
If you are a member of a loyalty program, it’s time to see what you have in the way of points. Popular frequent flyer programs such as Velocity and Flybuys can be the perfect way to redeem amazing gifts for friends and family at no cost to you. Ensure you look into your points balance ASAP so you have enough time to redeem your gift and have it ready for Christmas morning.
Embrace your creative side
If you really want to avoid a financial hangover in January, why not embrace your creative side? A quick online search will reveal thousands of ways you can create, make or bake personalised Christmas gifts, saving you big money. Whip up a festive batch of Christmas desserts or create a photo collage of memories to share with family and friends – they’ll love it!
It’s the thought (and the experience!) that counts
Instead of purchasing expensive gifts, shower your loved ones in experiences they’ll never forget. Slip a note in their Christmas card promising a one-on-one experience with you, in lieu of a gift. Take them on a picnic, have a day out exploring your local area or offer to come over and make them dinner. In this day and age, the gift of time and undivided attention is almost priceless.
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Are you reviewing your financial situation as the end of the year draws closer? Vision Property & Finance has the knowledge and experience to help you review your current situation, including your investment portfolio. For more information, call 02 8354 3000 to contact our Sydney office or 02 4014 1999 to talk to someone in our Newcastle office. You can also contact us here.