09 May CHRISTMAS BUDGET TIPS..
Preparing for Christmas – Today (ways to budget to reduce your Christmas spending stress)
If Christmas still seems like a long way away, think about your credit card statement. Because the fact is, if you’re still dealing with some debt related to last Christmas season’s round of gift-giving and festivities, it’s definitely time to start planning a budget to avoid repeating your financial stress.
The good news is that preparing for a debt-free Christmas is realistic and can be handled with some consistently small savings that can add up to make a big difference to your bank balance.
Affordability vs Desirability
Creating a memorable Christmas for your loved ones doesn’t have to mean splurging on expensive items. If you are worried about how you will pay for it, it’s a clear sign that it is beyond your budget – and its time to re-think your spending plans.
Remember – Christmas is just one day and although it can be a special time with family and friends, it’s not worth ruining the following year with overwhelming debt just to give someone you love a very short-term thrill of receiving an expensive present. People who know and love you also know your genuine circumstances and they’ll be happy with any token of appreciation and gratitude – as long as it is from you.
Give the Gift of Friendship and Love
Have you ever thought about not giving a gift at all? Don’t panic – we’re not saying to stop buying for your children or grandchildren, or even your nephews and nieces, but having a close and realistic look at just how far your gift-giving circle extends can be an important wake-up call to snap you back to the reality of your actual budget. You might also find that you’ll be helping your extended family and friends, too – by not giving to them they won’t feel obliged to give to you and that might be a financial burden they’ve been stressed about as well.
Smart Ways To Save
If the ‘no present’ approach doesn’t cut it for you, then it’s time to get smart about savings.
All that talk about splurging on smashed avocado might not make an immediate difference to your mortgage but putting $20 a week away from the start of June until Christmas will a difference to your ability to deck the halls in some style – to the tune of around $580 (not including any interest earned when you choose a high-interest savings account). That’s more than enough to pay for an impressive Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, and buy the latest novel or $20 store voucher for at least 10 people you really care about. Merry Christmas!
Set a Budget – and Stick To It
Savings success starts with a budget – and your ability to stick to it. Work out how many presents you really need to give and price them. You’ve got several months to find the best prices on specials and also lots of time to work out an interesting menu of food that won’t bust your bank account.
Small consistent savings done week after week do add up – and by choosing an account that rewards your regular deposits, you can add to your savings with some valuable interest.
In the meantime, you can boost your ability to save by taking a closer look at exactly where your money is going each week. Cancelling that gym subscription you never utilise, cancelling the subscription for the magazine you no longer have time to read, or walking that 20-minutes to work, instead of hopping on the train or bus, can all have a savings impact over time.
Time is Money
Another way to share some festive goodwill without it costing a fortune is to trade in services, instead of gifts. Your time is valuable and for the little people in our life, your genuine commitment to play, kick a footy, teach them how to knit/play an instrument/rock climb or fly a kite, might be worth more than that plastic toy that might not even last beyond New Year’s. And if you do have children of your own, hand-made vouchers from children to adults are another creative way to minimise your family’s Christmas budget. You might end up with breakfast in bed – and that’s another fun way to avoid that smashed avocado you don’t really need this week.
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Disclaimer: This article is generic in nature. All finance and investment decisions should be considered wisely and based on your personal and financial circumstances. Seek proper advice before committing to any course of investment action. This is not deemed as advice. © 2017