For many of us the festive season is known as the silly season. It’s a time where we’re all that little bit more joyous and can be a lot more generous! It’s a time where the credit card can get a hammering and our thought process can be ‘I’ll sort it in the new year’.
For many of us this may be fine, however with planning, you could make Christmas a lot more affordable, without being a Scrooge.
Have a budget and stick to it
With Christmas presents, food and drink, taxi home from the work’s Christmas party, catch up with family and friends and maybe a trip away, you can find the cost of Christmas can spiral upwards significantly. Setting a budget allows you to prioritise, saving you the Christmas hangover.
Love your lists
We all know who we’re going to buy for, but not necessarily what. Making a list of recipients along with a budget for every individual allows you to understand how much you’ll be spending on gifts. Dial this up and down accordingly.
Supplies for Christmas and New Years – Plan for the amount of food and drinks required and buy in bulk. Keep an eye out for specials that many supermarkets have on at this time.
Check your credit card rates
If you’re using the credit card over the Christmas period, check to see what your rate of interest is. If it’s high, it may be worth investigating a provider who’s happy to offer maybe a zero percent balance transfer to start with, but also a period of time where there is no charge on purchases, say six to 12 months. Checking on credit card comparison sites could put you in the right direction.
Big ticket items
Plan carefully when buying big ticket items such as a new TV, furniture or even a motor vehicle. Most big ticket item stores may have some special offers on in-house finance – however it’s worth comparing this against the market. Be very mindful of putting such purchases on high interest finance such as a credit card. There may be alternative options such as a short-term personal loan from a bank. Alternatively, if you can wait for Boxing Day and New Year’s Day sales, you could save a packet.
It’s never too early
Although it’s too late for this Christmas, it’s never too early to start planning for the next one.
Sales – with Boxing Day and New Year’s Day sales, you can find that you can save significantly on gifts and even long shelf life goods in preparation for next year.
Start saving now – start putting money away from January. If you have a budget, of let’s say $1,200 for Christmas, start putting $100 away every month in a separate account.
Hamper providers – there are a number of hamper providers where you start paying for Christmas early. These hamper providers can provide you with food, drink and presents. As you’ll be buying most of your items from here, you may find that the items are discounted, saving you money. Saving money on discounted items is great, however paying for Christmas ‘prior to’ as opposed to worrying about it in January can take a load of financial stress from you.
Think of those who are less fortunate than us. Building in a small donation into your budget wouldn’t go amiss or even taking part in some charitable work such as feeding the homeless at a shelter. Getting the kids involved could teach them another side of what Christmas is about.
For those who choose not to plan ahead and will pay for it in the new year, watch out for my article in January which covers off the pros and cons of debt consolidation.
I hope all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Raj Ladher from Tomorrow Finance is a mortgage expert with over 11 years’ experience both in the UK and Australian mortgage markets. Accredited with the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and access to numerous lenders, Raj specialises in all types of mortgages, from first home-owners to investors increasing their portfolio. For more, email firstname.lastname@example.org