We’re huge advocates of financial wellness. Nothing better than feeling financially secure and not have to worry about paying your bills on time. With the silly season upon us, for many it’s a very expensive time of year. It’s not just the myriad of parties and drinks you have to attend, but the pressure of buying gifts for everyone somehow remotely related to you.
It’s no secret that Aussies spend more over the silly season compared to other times of the year. In 2018, we are expected to spend $25 billion on Christmas, which averages out to $1,325 per person. Before you rush off to do some last minute shopping, make sure that you have your finances in check. Don’t wake up on New Year’s Day with a financial hangover!
Here are some ways to help with your finances this silly season:
Plan your spending and keep to it
Begin your budgeting early. Make sure you factor in bills and other expenses you’ll need to pay for before allocating your Christmas budget. Then, make a list of presents you would like to buy and the prices. This will curb any unnecessary spending. Having a list will also ensure that you don’t have to make a return trip to Chaddy and spend more than you should.
Track your spending
How much did you spend on that present for your kid? And those lattes you bought while on your shopping adventures? Did that stocking filler really cost $50? If you don’t track your spending, it’s really easy to go over your budget. To make tracking easier, there are loads of apps you can check out.
Avoid using credit
Leave all your credit cards at home. That way, you won’t be tempted to pay by credit. Use cash if possible – you’ll feel the pinch and that will deter you from spending too much, hopefully. Once the money runs out, it’s time to stop spending.
This is important. Repeat: I will not go into debt to buy Christmas gifts.
Don’t be tempted to buy first and pay later
There are many services that will offer you instant gratification. Afterpay, Nimble, interest-free credit card and low rate balance transfer credit cards – these are just some of the services that prey on those in a weak spot financially. You get to shop now and pay later, but many of those debts will come at a higher price.
Some other ways to save money
Talk to friends, family or colleagues about having a spending limit for gifts. You could opt for a Secret Santa, where you only need to buy for one person. Homemade gifts can be so much more meaningful too – not to mention affordable! Aussies drink a lot, especially during Christmas time. To cut back on expenses, lessen the drinking or BYO when you’re out.
Prepare for next year’s silly season!
Open a savings account just for Christmas shopping purposes. Contribute a small amount to it every week or month. Actually, not only for the silly season. Start saving in general. With the new year only a few weeks away, now is a great time to look back at how you performed over the year and to set goals for the coming year. Use our financial wellness program to help you get started.