20 Dec 2016
wealth news

All I want for Christmas… is to survive debt free!

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season. Unfortunately this can be bad news for your finances. After a year of careful spending don’t let Christmas blow your budget. Follow these tips and emerge in the New Year without the financial hangover.

Set a budget
Take some time out to review your current finances and then plan ahead. Determine how much you can realistically afford to spend without going into the red. Remember to include entertainment as well as gifts – and even the small things that come with the season like cards, stamps, decorations, food and travel. Then make a list of everyone you plan on giving a gift to and decide how much you want to spend on each person. You may need to cut some corners along the way to help meet the budget.

Start early
Do you ever see a present and think it would be great for a loved one, but then don’t buy it because Christmas is too far away? Buying early means you can take advantage of sales and avoid the pressure of buying the wrong – and usually more expensive – gift simply because you’ve run out of time. Shopping all year for Christmas presents also lets you avoid blowing the budget in the last month of the year.

Remember who you’re shopping for
When you’re shopping for family and friends, it’s very easy to also find things which will be just perfect for you. This is a sure way to break your budget. If you really want to treat yourself, the Boxing Day sales are a great time to pick up a bargain.

Avoid credit
It’s easy to get carried away when shopping and credit cards make it easy to not worry about how much you’re spending. That is, until your statement turns up in January. Don’t spend the first few months of 2017 paying off debt. If a credit card is too tempting, leave it at home and head to shops with your debit card only. If you must use your credit card, look for the best rewards or discounts that are available through your card provider.

Look for savings and incentives
Try to shop online first as you’re less likely to impulse shop and can easily compare prices across various websites. There are plenty of online retailers that offer savings across a number of product categories such as fashion, skincare, make up, fragrances, books and electrical appliances. You can also find discounts through online community classifieds, eBay and daily deal sites.

Save early
Get off the overspending merry-go-round by saving early for next year. As soon as the holiday season is over, determine next year’s Christmas budget and set up automatic direct debits into a dedicated Christmas savings account. You’ll be all set by the time the department stores bring out their tinsel again.

Source: Investor insights