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Budgeting Tips For A Happy (and Guilt Free) Holiday Season

Did Somebody say Christmas?

Can you believe we are in October already? Where did that year go?

In 12 very short weeks it will be Christmas. Have you noticed that Christmas decorations are already appearing in the shop windows and in the marketing all around us?

How do you feel about Christmas? I have to say, I am one of those people that absolutely loves it. I am lucky enough to have both of my parents and my father-in-law still with us and I certainly don’t take that for granted.

Christmas day for my family is presents with my kids (young adults now) in the morning, generally ham and cheese croissants for breakfast, then everyone jumps in to get the big lunch feast happening. Some years I am lucky enough to have my brother and his family join us (they live a few hours away), but other years it is just my family and our parents.

But what about the cost of Christmas? Are you one of those people that saves all year for the day? I am, but I guess you would have expected that answer.

How much does Christmas usually cost you? For some people, it is only a small expense, as it is not about the gifts, but about spending time together as a family. For others, it really is the day to go bigger than Ben Hur! It doesn’t matter which one of these people you are, or if you fall in the middle somewhere. What’s important is that you are prepared and can afford it.

Who wants to kick off the new year with a Christmas debt hangover!? Not me.

According to a new survey by Finder, more than one in three Australians racked up Christmas credit card debt last Christmas. That’s equivalent to 7 million Aussies who put their Christmas spending on plastic – and are probably still paying interest to a bank that has already made huge profits!

Budgeting (yes, there is that word again) is the key here, so that you can be best prepared for the cost and can enjoy a genuinely happy and guilt-free Christmas day.

Eeeek! But Christmas is only 12 weeks away!

If you haven’t thought about any of this until now, don’t panic. There are still ways to save for the holiday season in 12 weeks. 

The following tips will help to reduce the likelihood of you paying for Christmas long after the tree has come down. 

Step One – Work out what you need

The first thing to do is work out what you need to spend. Make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and your entertaining expenses.

If cash flow is particularly tight, maybe this is the year that you don’t spend as much. Remember, material things probably aren’t the memories we hold dear about Christmas anyway.

Step Two – Start a savings plan

Once you know how much you need, divide that amount by how many pay periods you have left before Christmas. So, for example, if you are paid weekly and think you will need an extra $300 for Christmas, you will need to save $25 each week. If you need $500, you will need to find $42 each week – you get my drift.

You might find it useful to open a separate account dedicated just to your Christmas fund. It will discourage you from dipping into your Christmas money and motivate you to keep going because you will see your savings growing.

Step Three – Reduce your current spending

But of course, money doesn’t grow on trees (not even Christmas trees!), so you may have to look at ways to reduce your spending now to find those extra funds. Here’s a couple of simple ideas. They may seem small, but in combination they will help you on your savings journey:

  • Cancel a TV subscription/streaming service. Do you really use/need all of the streaming services you’re paying for?
  • Stop eating out (quite so much). Takeaway coffee, lunches and dinners can really add up. Remove one – or more – takeaways per week.
  • Wherever possible, only buy things on sale.

Step Four – Make some extra cash

When was the last time you looked around your house to see what you don’t use or need anymore? Remember that saying: one person’s trash is another’s treasure. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much cash you can rake in just by getting rid of things you no longer require. Plus, there are so many free platforms you can use to sell some of the goodies you have around your house – Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Gumtree or even your local markets!

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about having enough money for Christmas? We can help to make sure that you are not in the same boat this time next year.

Come and join us at Got Money Honey! We’ll give you all the tools, tips and support you need to ensure YOU are in control of your money, rather than your money controlling you. Not just at Christmas, but EVERY day of the year.