How to be Financially Savvy this Christmas!
Christmas is just under 4 weeks away! Eeeeek, how did that happen?!
Each year I think, I’ll get on to it early and be organised. But I’ll confess, I’m a last-minute shopper. I’m not a last-minute planner though. I like to put a lot of thought into what I buy and what I spend, and I’ve always been reasonably good at spending on budget.
I typically spend the month of December window shopping and then usually strike in the week before Christmas. Coming home from a late-night shopping spree with loads of bags all at once, ready to stay up all night Christmas Eve wrapping gifts is an integral part of Christmas for me. This year I would really like the stack of presents under the tree for weeks in advance though…but who am I kidding – the kids would just unwrap them anyway!
If you are freaking out about Christmas being just around the corner (and haven’t been shopping since June with your Christmas Club account), don’t despair, it’s not too late to be organised!
Here are my top 10 tips that might help you stress a little less about the financial burden that comes with Christmas…
Make a list
Write down everyone you’ve got to buy for and ideas on what you’re going to gift them.
Create a budget
Work out how much to spend per person/gift and also factor in the other expenses that come with Christmas, such as food, decorations, travel, holidays etc.
It’s the thought that counts…and who doesn’t love a heartfelt gift!? Think something made or created if you’re crafty…even photos used to create a framed print, a photo book or a gift of your time for babysitting, cooking, gardening for example.
Pay with physical cash
By setting aside the cash you have budgeted and using only the cash to pay for the gifts on your list, you reduce the risk of overspending and being ‘tap-happy’.
There’s just 4 weeks to go, so normally I’d suggest planning further ahead, but there’s still time! If you know what you’re looking for, you can take advantage of things like Black Friday sales (happening right now!) and shop around.
By shopping on-line you can remove the temptation of being lured to other things at the shops….shop with intent and look around online for the best prices.
Use reward points
If you have points this could be a good time to use them. Review your reward programs, see what they have on offer and put them to good use.
Be ‘buy now, pay later’ wary
You don’t want to have a Christmas budget hangover carry you through to the new year. So try not to be tempted to ‘buy now, pay later’ (after-pay, zip-pay, credit cards etc)…
Agree on a Spending Limit
It might be helpful to suggest on a spending limit with your partner or within your family/loved ones so you can each have some control over your budgets. They might be relieved you broached the topic!
Kris Kringle in larger families
Kris Kringle or Secret Santa can be a great option for larger families! Spend a little more on one person, rather than buying gifts for a lot of people.
I hope some of these tips help in the countdown till Christmas! No matter how late you leave it, if you can at least shop with some intent and structure and it will go a long way to helping the purse strings.
Merry Christmas X