It has been a year – and with Christmas and the silly season upon us, it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and go all out – but do you really want to end up with a financial hangover when those credit card bills roll around?
We want to make it easy for you to enjoy the Christmas season without ending up with a financial hangover in the New Year with 8 easy to follow spending tips.
- Set a Budget for Christmas
We’re starting with the b-word because we know it’s the least popular – but there’s a reason why budgets work.
When you have a budget in place, you’re more aware of how much you’re spending and what you’re spending money on so you can make better decisions.
A lack of planning is your savings account’s worst enemy, so draw up a budget for your Christmas spending. This should include everything from the gifts under the tree to the food, drinks and money you’ll spend socialising during the silly season.
Once you’ve worked out how much you can afford to spend, you have more freedom to enjoy all of the things the Christmas season brings.
Pro Tip! If you’re the type of person who leaves for a night out with a strict budget in mind, but tends to keep tapping that credit card round after round, do yourself a favour and leave the cards at home and bring cash instead.
- Pay off Credit Cards Quickly
If you use a credit card to finance your Christmas spending, be sure to pay off the balance in full when the bill arrives in the New Year.
Credit cards are generally an expensive way to borrow money so it’s important that you’re not being lumped with extra interest or fees.
If you’re taking advantage of a credit card offer, make sure you read the fine print and know the end dates so you’re not stuck with a nasty surprise in the new year.
- Keep a Running Total
You’ve got a budget, but it’s easy to set and forget.
Track your expenses as you go so you don’t end up overspending and ruining your budget for the month (or for the months after!).
It could be as simple as keeping a running total in the notes section of your phone or using a budgeting app.
- Try and Reduce Spending in Other Areas
Is there anything you can spend less on in December to make up for spending on gifts or socialising? Have a look at your budget and see what areas you could be spending less in.
Pro Tip! Get ready for Christmas spending in advance by adding a Christmas “sinking fund” to your monthly budget. By putting aside some money each month, you know exactly how much you have to spend and don’t have to sacrifice other spending in December.
- Make More Money
Wait a minute, stay with us!
Whilst it would be great it all of our bosses gave us some extra Christmas cash, there are other ways you can make more money for the Christmas season.
Try decluttering at home and selling some unwanted items on Facebook marketplace – or maybe you can use some time on your weekends to do a few AirTasker tasks or pick up a few Uber Eats orders.
Love pets? Maybe there’s someone in your area looking for a pet sitter over the Christmas break.
- Prioritise Your Existing Financial Commitments
Don’t forget about your existing financial commitments. Your loan still needs to be paid, utility bills still come in and credit card payments will still be due.
Avoid splashing out on Christmas spending at the expense of your existing financial obligations.
- Try Not to Dip Into Your Savings
It can be tempting to dip into your savings to afford the Christmas you’ve been dreaming of, but whilst it might seem like a good idea now, it can actually set you back in the new year.
If you can avoid it, try to leave your savings or emergency fund intact for when you really need it.
- Spread Out Your Spending
Instead of leaving all of your Christmas shopping to the last minute, spread your Christmas spending across the weeks leading up to Christmas to lessen the financial strain.
Try Christmas shopping earlier to take advantage of different sale offers like Black Friday that could save you hundreds. Planning your Christmas menu in advance also allows you to shop the specials in the weeks leading up to Christmas, saving you more money in the long run.