The holidays really are a wonderful time of year! However with them can often also come the expectation and sometimes obligation of choosing and purchasing gifts for up to who knows how many people (or pets) depending on your family and its traditions (who loves the family secret Santa)!
According to Finders, Aussies totalled over $29 billion in credit card debt in December 2017. It seems CRAZY and yes, it’s a massive number but with all of the ads and pressures we sometimes feel, it can be easy to lose track of our spending this time of year. Holiday parties, travel, decorations and gifts are just a few of the things that start to accumulate and can turn into unnecessary stress but, it IS avoidable and you CAN set yourself up to start 2019 strong.
As you make your lists and plans, keep in mind what Christmas is fundamentally about and focus on the things that matter during this season. How can you show love and kindness to those around you amidst the rush of summer holidays and Christmas? What ways can you make someone’s day a little better? What good can you do at the next work function or family dinner? Be present in as many moments as you possibly can because it goes so fast and while we may not remember every little thing we have given or received for Christmas, we can leave a positive impact on those around us for FREE.
And for the things that aren’t free, here are a few tips:
MAKE A LIST
Make a list of projected end-of-year expenses. Obviously, there will be last minute things you did not plan for but do your best to create a cushion for such an occasion. If you want to take your spending budget to the next level, decide on an amount you plan to spend on gifts, food, travel, etc. and make sure your stay within those boundaries.
They say you shouldn’t grocery shop hungry and in this case, the same is true – set an amount or a list and stick to it.
Do your research and figure out when the best time is to buy the things on your list and try to make it happen before the last few weeks of the year. Prices start to climb back up the closer it gets to the holidays so it’s best to tick off your list as soon as you can. Buying online is a great resource as well. Save yourself time and potential money by browsing items on your list and setting price alerts. As far as decorations go, you may find that things actually get much cheaper the closer you get to the holidays and if you were really planning ahead you could stock up for the next year by waiting until after the holidays.
It can also be helpful to spread out your purchases so if you plan ahead, you won’t find yourself making a lot of purchases at once.
AVOID PAYMENT OPTIONS
Sometimes things like Credit Cards and After Pay can be tempting BUT this is not a good resource as it often causes you to overspend. There are so many creative ways to show love without overspending and at the end of the day, there is so much more to Christmas than gifts. Always remember that little acts of kindness and spending quality time with people can go a long way.
It can be really hard to stick to your lists and budgets. Writing things down on paper is a great way to see things clearly and will ideally give yourself a little bit of accountability. If you are someone who needs a little extra support, seek out a friend who can check in on things from time to time. There is nothing wrong with getting a little help from someone who can keep you accountable.
Every year is different and some years are tighter than others so whatever your situation, make a plan and stick to it so you can ensure you have the most enjoyable holiday season possible.