Plan to spend what is affordable.
Planning early means there is less risk of starting next year with a whole bunch of debt that you didn’t need. Have a look at your budget and work out how much you can put aside each week towards your Christmas fund.
If you have already been doing that work out how much you will have saved.
For anyone with children this is a great time to get them involved too. Having children start their own Christmas budget means they start to learn the importance of planning too.
Help them work out how much they can save from their pocket money and then what they could do to earn additional money.
Make a list of the people you want to buy gifts for.
Having a list will allow you to start thinking ahead of what you would like to buy each person and how much you can afford to spend to keep within your budget.
Look for opportunities to buy early
Not only does this avoid the Christmas chaos and crowds in the malls, you are also less likely to buy under last minute pressure.
Often this results in paying more than you needed too or settling for whatever you can find. You have a budget; you know who you are buying for so keep an eye out for sales and other opportunities to buy smart by buying early.
Think outside the box
Grab-one vouchers, hand crafted gifts made by you, pooling together with others for family members, these are just some of the ideas that can help make your dollars go the distance.
Remember it’s the thought that counts, planning early allows you to step outside of the materialism and your gifts will have a greater relevance and meaning.
Consider other Christmas expenses and build these into your budget too.
Will you need to allow for extra costs associated with catching up with friends and family? Expenses such as extra fuel costs, accommodation if you are travelling some distance or meals along the way.
Some employers have shut down periods. Does your employment stop over the Christmas period? Do you need to plan extra costs for activities and things you will want to do while you’re not working?
Work Christmas parties and other group functions, it’s the festive season and everyone loves to celebrate. Plan to have some contingency costs in your Christmas budget to enjoy these without financial stress.
Talk to family
If your budget doesn’t feel that great, don’t give in to the temptation of debt and ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ options just so you can give someone a gift.
Planning early gives you an opportunity to be realistic about what you can achieve so talk to family early about any expectations you may have or think they have.
Going into debt simply to please someone else, be popular or any other reason makes for a miserable new year as you then have to figure out how to pay it back.
You may find other family members feel the same way, but no one is brave enough to raise the subject. If this is you, start the discussion, you will feel a whole lot better for doing so.
Start planning today and position yourself for a great Christmas experience and a new year without unnecessary debt.
Below are links to a couple of useful tools that can help you get started if you don’t yet have a budget or savings plan in place.
Savings Calculator – In less than 2 minutes this simple to use calculator can help you work out how much you could be saving
Spending Planner – Use this to work out your budget so you can include regular savings for Christmas
If you are thinking “I will do this later” then check out this article Christmas 101 to get yourself motivated.