Is it too early to talk about saving for Christmas? Ho, ho, no! It’s never too early to plan for the festive season. Here are Christmas saving tips to put cash in your cracker and help avoid a New Year credit card hangover.
Christmas is sneaky, like a ninja
Christmas happens on the same day every year, yet manages to catch us by surprise. How does that happen? Christmas is like a ninja. One minute it’s tax time and, the next, every shop has fake snow in the window.
If you’re like most people, you have excellent Christmas intentions. Every year you plan to finish your Christmas shopping early and every year you find yourself in a flat panic with only a week to go.
If Christmas weren’t stressful enough, Covid has turned up the heat even higher. Global logistics chains are interrupted and stock shortages are everywhere. It all adds up to even more reasons to get your Christmas ducks in a row.
1. Make your Christmas gift list
Christmas gifts are one of the biggest festive season expenses. Grab a piece of paper or open the notes app on your phone and create your “nice” list. These are the friends, family members and work colleagues you’d like to buy Christmas presents for this year. You can also jot down any gift ideas that spring to mind.
2. Create your Christmas budget
Creating a Christmas gift list is a great start. Now, you need to work out what’s actually affordable. The free MyBudget Christmas Budget Calculator is designed to help you create a financial plan for the festive season. As you add your Christmas expenses and allocate an amount of money to each, the budget calculator will update and show how much you need to save. Don’t forget to include all the little hidden costs—Christmas food, entertaining, decorations, wrapping paper, and so on. Use the free calculator to adjust your spending and come up with a Christmas budget that’s realistic and affordable.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Your Free MyBudget Christmas Budget Calculator
3. Find more money to save
But what if you get stuck? What if money is tight and you can’t find any spare cash to save? You’re not alone. Millions of Australians rack up Christmas spending on their credit cards. No wonder the holiday season often feels less festive than it should. But the good news is that most people have spare cash hiding in their spending habits.
4. Automate your Christmas savings
Now that your free Christmas budget planner has revealed how much you need to save, the next step is to open a dedicated Christmas savings account. The key is to separate your Christmas savings from your everyday money, so you don’t accidentally spend it. You can set up an automatic transfer between your own accounts or an automated pay disbursement with your payroll manager.
5. Do your Christmas shopping early
The mid-year sales are nearly upon us, not to mention Black Friday sales in October. Use these sales events to do your Christmas shopping early. This also leaves plenty of time for shipping. But whatever you do, don’t get hoodwinked into impulse shopping for things you don’t need. Stick to your gift list like egg to nog.
6. Manage expectations
With retail inventory levels low across the country and incoming freight in short supply, this could be a good year to shop for second-hand, pre-loved presents on Gumtree and Marketplace, or at your local thrift shop. Start early so you can keep your eyes peeled for quality items, such as second-hand bikes, toys, fashion and furniture.
7. Don’t forget to budget for fun
A common oversight at Christmas is to budget for gifts, then overlook the added costs of Christmas food, entertaining, drinks, Christmas decorations, wrapping, work parties, going out, Uber fares etc. Make sure you include money for fun in your Christmas budget. After all, that’s what budgeting is for—to make sure you have enough money to afford the things you love!
8. Factor in any income changes
Does your workplace close down over Christmas? Do you take unpaid leave? If your income might be affected by the festive season, make sure you factor reduced pay into your Christmas budget calculations.
9. Start squirrelling away Christmas items
It’s not too soon to start stashing Christmas food, decorations and other items when you see them on sale. Stock up on food that can be frozen, such as meat. And non-perishable items, such as serviettes, paper plates, wrapping paper and gifts.
10. Spread the love by sharing the load
Organising Christmas doesn’t need to fall on the shoulders of one household. As you’re planning Christmas, talk with your friends and family about ways to spread the load. Can each person bring a dish to share? Or chip in money for a combined Christmas food budget? You can apply the same approach to gift-giving. Secret Santa is a great way to keep Christmas spending under control, especially with big families and work teams.
11. Avoid a Christmas debt hangover
There’s nothing worse than waiting for a big, ugly credit card bill to arrive in the new year. And who says Christmas has to be expensive? The “perfect” version of Christmas, with mountains of presents and all the trimmings, is designed by retailers to sell us things we don’t need. Instead, plan the perfect Christmas for you. How about a picnic? Or sausage sizzle? Or build-your-own-burger? There are infinite ways to affordably celebrate being together at Christmastime.
12. Be like Santa and ask for budgeting help
Everybody knows that Santa doesn’t make Christmas happen on his own. Aside from the amazing Mrs Claus, he has a whole team of helper elves. The same goes with taking control of your money—you don’t have to do it on your own. For free help with budgeting, talk with us at any time. MyBudget’s expert money elves are always here to help!
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