For some out there who are organised, Christmas is executed according to a well-laid plan. There are lists and budgets set within known limits. There are creative approaches to giving and sharing without breaking the bank. And come to the New Year, their bank balances are sitting exactly where they are meant to be sitting. Ahhh, the sigh of relief (and potentially even a little smug giggle of joy). You’ve earned it! For the rest of us, things may not be feeling so rosy.
You know the feeling, you sneak a peek at the credit card balance and shudder. You look through the transactions and struggle to recall where each was made. The quick drinks with friends/colleagues/book club, the extra lunches out, the last-minute gifts for teachers/co-workers/that amazing person who really helped you out this year, extra travel costs to get to much-loved family, the Christmas must-haves – roasts/cheese/Champaign….it all adds up. Australians were tipped to spend $8.8 billion on presents this year. A survey by comparison website finder.com.au found that the average Aussie was planning on spending $1325 over presents, travel, alcohol, food and decorations this year. In post-Christmas surveys, AMP found that two-thirds of people experience regret about the amount they spent on Christmas. And Money Smart found that 40 percent of what we spend was on credit cards – so longer-term debt is a likely outcome for many.
Could you have spent less? Possibly. Could you have prepared and planned more? Likely.
So, what do we do about it? If you’ve spent too much over the holidays, what next?
The first step is to address the emotional state it has you in now. Guilt? Fear? Dread? These are all feelings that need addressing head-on. There is almost always a way out from here, but you must be honest about how you ended up in this place and committed to moving forward positively.
The next step is making a plan. Remember those ‘smugglettes’ at the beginning of this article? Well, there is no reason why we can’t all be a bit more like them. If one-third of us don’t have post-Christmas spending blues, we can learn from that.
- Plan ahead – know what you want to spend money on. This allows you to prioritise your spending where it is most important to you. Perhaps the cost of getting to your family is worth more to you than arriving loaded with gifts.
- Create the budget for it. If you know what your minimum spend needs to be, you can start working ahead to save for that.
- Monitor yourself. There are great tools out there now that help you stay in touch with your spending, even if you have a number of different accounts. At Invest Blue we recommend Money Brilliant – and if you are a client of ours, we offer you the tool for free. Just ask your adviser for details.
- Enjoy! Truly, there is no better feeling than creating a plan that means something to you, following it and coming out the other side with confidence.
Still not convinced it’s possible? Keep in mind that there is a strong correlation between your financial health and your physical well-being. For more great tips on enjoying the holidays without the post-Christmas money hangover, check out moneysmart.gov.au. If you are keen to set yourself on a clear money path in 2019, get in touch with us. Our advisers will help you clarify what is most important to you and set a plan to help you live your best possible life. And don’t worry about the Christmas bills – we have seen it all before.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.