Each year, there seem to be more people to buy gifts for (even the postman gets a look in). And beyond the presents, there’s food, drinks and decorations for Christmas day. It can feel overwhelming and it happens each and every year.
Australian’s spend close to $10 billion on Christmas gifts each year, but there are ways to avoid blowing the budget.
Here are some great tips for sticking to your budget for the festive season:
It is easy to get carried away with festive purchases.
Have clear lists, be it for gifts or groceries and do your very best to stick to it. Try not to get distracted by those cleverly positioned items as you queue at the check-out.
Using cash rather than charging everything to your card can keep your spending moderate.
Those who get in early and make the most of the big sales earlier in the year are very wise to do so. For those whose shopping starts in December, it’s still a case of the sooner the better. Last minute rushing around is likely to lead to impulse buying. There’s a reason these gifts are described as ‘panic purchases’!
especially if you’re going to have trouble paying the bill when it comes next month. If items are purchased using credit, try and pay more than just the minimum payment when the bill arrives as interest will compound at a higher rate.
With a world of options at our fingertips, it is easy to forget to shop locally. Most locations have a regular market day where local providers sell their wares, and your local boutique likely carries unique gifts for your special someone’s. By choosing local you are supporting a neighbour and have a good chance of finding a quality piece for a good price.
Join 27% of Aussie families and opt for Kris Kringle or ‘Secret Santa’. Rather than buying numerous gifts for different family members, put names into a hat to draw from and spend an agreed amount on one person. Traditionally, it’s meant to be secret but getting good gift suggestions from your Kris Kringle recipient will also help the budget.
Lay-by often results in better money management. To make the most of this option, it’s best to get in early so that the payments are smaller regular payments over a longer period of time.
If you need to purchase big ticket items (i.e. white goods), do your research and source the retailers, online or in-store, prepared to beat competitors’ prices. Most retailers can do better than just ‘price match’.
Have a discussion, especially when there are lots of kids or grand kids to buy for. Ask family members for suggestions that are practical and inexpensive. Children most appreciate a gift that brings them joy and sometimes an inexpensive item (a beach toy, dress up costume or soccer ball) will provide hours of fun. Lego might be on the top of the child’s wish list but generally, after being built for the first time, Lego tends to be left unloved.
Bring a dish or two for the host/hostess on Christmas Day. Cooking and hosting others can be stressful enough without having to purchase all the food, drink and Christmas crackers too. If you’re hosting, ask family members to chip in by bringing something.
Once the New Year comes around, think about putting money aside each month so that Christmas 2017 does not make that sudden dent to your hip pocket. A clear budget can help you manage your cash needs throughout the year.