As 2016 is quickly drawing to a close we would like the opportunity to thank you for your business and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
But just before you go on your well-deserved holiday break, here is a last minute gift from us to help you manage your money wisely and still enjoy both Christmas and your holiday time.
Our 5 ways to have enough money for Christmas AND your holidays:
Make a list and check it twice
Christmas is just a few days away but you still have time to plan your spending both for presents and food supplies.
This is how:
- Christmas Gifts – Make a list of who you are buying for, what you want to buy and how much money you’ve allocated for each person.
If you’ve already bought the majority of your Christmas presents looking at the total amount spent will give you perspective and stop you from overspending in the last remaining days before Christmas. Seeing what you have already spent is quite a sobering experience.
But this is not bad news. It is just an opportunity to be creative in how and what you give for Christmas.
If you still have people on your list, with no presents yet, why don’t you instead think of a creative way to give – Use your talents and hobbies.
Bake some cookies or make some bath bombs and then wrap in nice paper.
These kind of gifts are simple but always appreciated!
- Food Supplies for Christmas/Boxing Day – Make a list what you want to buy, and where from.
Plan your special Christmas meals and buy in advance where possible to take advantage of weekly specials.
Coles has great offers for seasonal produce based on your post code:
as well as a well-designed magazine with meal ideas:
- For your holidays – If you are travelling these holidays make a list of costs like flights, car service/tyre check, petrol and travel insurance.. If you’re driving somewhere, think about what day is best to fill up on petrol and do it the week before Christmas.
If you love your social media, make the most of it by checking your favourite brands’ websites and social media pages for last minute exclusive discounts.
Look through your emails for special discounts too – remember that Gmail places these types of e-mails in a separate folder called “Promotions”
There are also lots of discount or deal apps that you can use to find bargains on items on your Christmas list.
If you come across a new website or app you haven’t used before make sure you know what you are getting and make sure the website is legitimate.
See the ACCC’s SCAM watch website for tips on how to detect an online shopping scam.
Shop the “Santa way”
Santa is always well-prepared and does his shopping on time – you can too!
Reduce your last minute overspending and stress. This is how:
- Pre-pay online – If you buy online, check if there is an option to pick up in-store. It is usually called “click and collect”
This way you will save on postage, avoid the long queues and you will be less tempted to buy more.
Both Myer and David Jones offer this “hybrid” purchasing option.
- Set a time limit on your shopping – Have a plan for your shopping trip with allocated time for shopping and why not arrange to meet a friend after.
Get in, get it done and go meet your friend so you aren’t tempted to spend more than you wanted to.
- Shop after hours – Take advantage of extended trading hours, which are currently until 9pm so you don’t have to feel the pressure to make a quick and impulsive choice simply to avoid the crowds.
- Buy bigger, more expensive items last – If you buy bigger and more costly items first you can lose perspective on what is a good price, so set your budget, buy cheaper/smaller items first, and then tackle the big ones so you keep to your budget.
Use your reward points
If you have a rewards card with points you’ve accrued from that past year, Christmas is a great time to cash these in. Check your balance and see what you can get.
Also look for specials that might be offered through your existing insurer or credit card provider for their retailing partners
Make a note to review your reward programs for next year as they can sometimes cost you more than the reward is worth. Credit card programs are a good example for costly rewards as they are usually bundled with higher interest rates.
It is your money, your budget, your way
Your sister always buys fancy gifts for the whole family but she’s single and has no major financial commitments.
However, if you are in a different place in your life you shouldn’t mirror her choices, nor should you feel guilty about it.
Go for impact with creative gifts or gifts for the whole family. Alternatively choose other kind of giving, such as hosting the Christmas party or organising the food.
Christmas is for giving, which is not the same as buying!
Enjoy your Christmas and your holiday, spend wisely and keep safe!
Until next year,
Steven and the team at Red Star Accountants