There is no doubt that Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year. Many families find themselves still paying off Christmas debt months later. Here are a few tips to help keep you out of the cycle of debt over Christmas:
Set a budget for Christmas and stick to it. Set your budget now before you get caught up in the Christmas frenzy. Decide how much you will spend in total and keep track of how much you actually spend. There is a very good App for this called TrackMySPEND which was developed by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
Make a pact with family and friends. In large families, buying presents can get out of hand, both in terms of the value of presents bought and the number of people you buy for. Make a pact with loved ones to cut down on the number and value of gifts.
Take a year off. If you are still paying off last year’s Christmas spending, let alone starting to save for this year’s, have a year off Christmas spending to let your savings catch up. Turn it into a fun challenge to see how enjoyable you can make your Christmas with the least amount of spending. For example, you can give DIY vouchers as gifts – for babysitting, homecooked meals or home repairs – or you can use membership rewards to buy vouchers and gifts.
Start planning in January for next Christmas. Take advantage of the January sales to stock up in advance. Purchase gifts throughout the year so you can take advantage of special price deals or, alternatively, set aside money each month in a savings account.
Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, and you can do this without spending a lot of money.