It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
2021 seems to have certainly flown by, and we’re already about to enter December. With work Christmas parties well into full-swing already, Christmas carols filling the air of shopping centres, and decorations appearing all over the cities, we know that the ‘silly season’ is well and truly upon us.
Christmas is often a time for many to spend time with their friends and family, relax, and look back on the year that was. Unfortunately, for many though, it can also be a very stressful time financially. From hosting meals to buying gifts for friends and loved ones, it’s easy for the Christmas spending to quickly climb, and before you know it you’ve got a whopping credit card bill to start the new year with.
This week our team at Loansuite is sharing our top tips to create some quick and simple savings for Christmas this year.
- Have a budget, and stick to it.
We all know that you should have a budget when it comes to your everyday spending, and how you track your ongoing savings, but rarely do people apply this logic when it comes to Christmas time. You should start by making a list of all of the people that you have to buy gifts for this year, and outline how much you plan to spend on each of them. If you find that the total is a bit scary, look at where you might be able to scale back or be more creative with the gifts that you choose.
We’d also suggest creating a budget for any meals that you’re hosting, decorations that you need to go out and buy, and any other events that you’re planning for this Christmas. Don’t celebrate the silly season by getting into a mountain of debt.
- Holiday locally, or simply stay home.
There’s no need to go on an overseas holiday each year, and in fact, there are many great spots, particularly across Australia to travel to locally. Whether you’re popping down to Dunsborough to check out the beaches and wineries, or the Hunter Valley, there are many stunning destinations to travel to within Australia, and the rest of the world for that matter. Consider your travel plans this year, and explore where you might be able to create some additional savings with your holiday plans.
- Spread out your spending throughout the year.
You may find that spreading out your Christmas spending throughout the year can be a great way to reduce the financial burden, and possibly the need to put too much on the credit card. After all, the interest expense on a credit card can be ridiculously high. You could consider planning your Christmas spending throughout the year to take advantage of sales, such as the Black Friday sales in November, post-Christmas sales for decorations and other knick-knacks that you might need for next year, and other sales throughout the year to purchase your gifts. Just be sure that you don’t forget about what you’ve already bought, as you could quickly exceed your budget.
- Consider a Secret Santa
A Secret Santa with your friends and family can add a lot of fun, as well as reduce the financial burden of gift-giving this Christmas. A Secret Santa involves placing the names of everyone into a bowl or hat, setting a spending limit on the gift to be provided, and each person drawing the name of their chosen recipient. The secret part comes in as the names of the recipients are not to be shared, creating an element of surprise for your Christmas party. This might allow everyone to put more thought into the gift for one person, rather than having to buy something for everybody there.
- Do you really need that for yourself..?
At the shopping malls at Christmas time, it’s easy to be swayed by a bargain or some clever marketing. If you’re considering treating yourself to a particular gift or multiple items, give some thought to whether you really need it. If you’re shopping online, consider placing the item in the shopping cart for 24 – 48 hours before proceeding with the purchase and allow yourself to avoid buyer’s remorse. You may also find that the vendor offers you a discount or coupon to proceed with the purchase.
- It’s a great time to get creative.
If you’re unlike us and have some creative flair, Christmas can be a great time to start getting creating and consider making some of your gifts this year. The same could be applied to your Christmas decorations, which could really set you apart from the rest. If you have young children, making gifts together for your family and friends can also be a great activity, to not only reduce the expense of buying gifts, but also an extra activity to keep the kids busy this school holidays.
- Shop online
The advertising at shopping malls during Christmas is certainly targeted at all of the shoppers during the silly season encouraging us to take advantage of discounts and ultimately, spend more. Shopping online can reduce the possibility of being drawn into other sales and other stores that you really don’t need to visit. Again, be very mindful of your budget, as it can also be very easy to over-spend when you’re shopping online given that you’re simply clicking a few buttons.
- Buy in bulk.
Whether you’re shopping at Costco, or elsewhere, there can be some great bargains to be had by buying in bulk. Whether it’s Christmas stockings, toys for the kids, or otherwise, taking advantage of discounts by purchasing in bulk can be a great way to save some extra money. If you are looking at buying in bulk, always consider asking the vendor for a discount that could apply if you buy more than one. While the answer certainly won’t always be yes, if you don’t ask the answer will only ever be no.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and by following some simple tips and strategies, you can ensure that it doesn’t break the bank, and you can enter the new year without a whopping credit card bill. Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas this year.
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