It is great to see everyone getting into the spirit of Christmas, but there is one thing that comes with it, and that generally is in relation to extra spending!
Although using Credit Cards for Christmas spending is not necessarily a bad thing if you are able to repay the debt in full before the expiry date, what we find is Australians are often unable to pay off the credit card debt they are incurring over the festive season. Read through Marissa’s and Richard’s 6 top tips to survive the silly season without a financial hangover.
Tip #1: Do a Pre-Christmas Cleanup
Take a look at the things you own and identify those which are not currently adding value to your life anymore.
As time passes we often find that the gifts and purchases we once cherished no longer suit our needs and can perfectly become sources of additional cash to avoid debt and fund your Christmas shopping! A pre-Christmas cleanup can help your kickstart the festive season in a better financial position, while clearing up space for potential new things that often come with the new year.
Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are all fantastic examples of places where you can re-sell your pre-loved items (or find new affordable ones!). During Christmas holidays, shoppers are attentively looking for gift ideas and options, hunting down the best bargains! If your items are in good condition, chances are they can easily be sold to bring extra revenue your way!
Tip #2: Work on Santa’s List
Just as Santa prepares his “naughty” and “nice” list, we encourage you to come up with one that can help you plan ahead of time. A great place to start is identifying those that made it your “nice” list, so you can think of the perfect gifts you would like to get for them and avoid Christmas debt.
Shopping without a plan is the perfect recipe for disaster, you can get caught up in places you were not expecting to end up in spending money you should not have spent. Fortunately, you can avoid this by having a clear picture of what the perfect gift would look like and conducting a bit of Internet research before hitting the shops. Often, this leads to identifying great alternatives at much more affordable rates than those you would have found in a shop, and can also help fight the urge of getting distracted and purchasing unplanned items you just discovered.
For big families, reconsidering the tradition of giving presents to everyone might also help! Evaluating whether you would like to give presents to kids only and perhaps organize budget-friendly alternatives of the likes of Kris Kringles for adults, can be a great way of keeping Christmas expenses and anxiety at healthier levels. Ultimately, having an activity that sparks conversation and gets the whole family involved might even deliver much more value than presents themselves, becoming a win-win for everyone!
Tip #3: Get Creative with your gifts: Make personal value a part of the equation!
This time of year it is so easy to lose sight of what is really important. At the end of the day, one of the greatest parts of the festive season is getting to spend time with your loved ones and creating fantastic memories.
Keeping this in mind we suggest you get creative when it comes to gift-giving, understanding that personal value might often be just as good, if not better, as dollar value.
Do you have any abilities or hobbies that can help you craft the perfect handmade gift? A heartfelt and unique item made by a loved one can be the perfect present. Do you enjoy the thrill of thrift shopping? A pre-loved item in perfect condition can be just as good as a brand-new one. Do you value experiences much more than material gifts? Vouchers your family and friends can cash in for something you are particularly good at (like making your family’s traditional lasagna dish, or even babysitting the kids, perhaps) are often unmatched!
Overall, think outside the box and keep an open mind. Your own gifts and time can bring surprising value!
Tip #4: Set some Christmas ground rules
As we previously mentioned, choosing to opt-in for different alternatives for adults can be one of the options to keep costs down. However, there are many other alternatives you can consider to avoid getting carried away. Some of these include:
- Think about the children and identify which gifts can provide the most value. Although toys and games are always welcome, considering the start of a new school year or upcoming holidays can often translate into saving money down the line by purchasing items your kids will need anyways. For new parents, shopping into the kid’s section can be overwhelming! With so many options, enticing toys, and trendy items, it can be very easy to end up getting debt on Christmas purchases that might not even make it out of the box. To avoid this we recommend you look forward into the year to ensure your spending is smart!
- Set spending limits. When shopping for adults spending limits can be the most helpful to make sure everyone gets a gift without it being excessive. Just remember to make it fun! The experience of unwrapping the gifts can often be just as meaningful and memorable as the gifts themselves.
Tip #5: Prepare for Festive Season Events
So far we have gone into quite a bit of detail regarding Christmas presents, but have you taken into consideration festive season events? The tickets, perfect outfit, preparation costs, and food catering should all be part of your plan to foolproof your finances!
Things you can do to keep the costs of these at bay include:
- Spread the costs: If you are hosting an event, you don’t necessarily have to carry all the financial burden. Think of creative ways of making the event work by perhaps getting your attendees to contribute with something to share. It can make all the difference.
- Plan your commitments: As tempting as it is, attending all events might also be affecting your bottom line more than you imagine. Think of those that will add more value to your life and perhaps curate your calendar! It is perfectly okay to prioritize your choices and be willing to say no sometimes.
- Suggest alternatives: If your friends or family are suggesting meet-ups at restaurants that stand out of your budget, coming up with alternatives that can help you connect and spend time together might work too! At the end of the day, spending quality time is what makes it worth it! When you are having a good time, a $120 lobster can be just as good as a $25 pizza.
Tip #6: Keep the year ahead in mind
Besides the gifts and spending time together, the holidays are also about reflection. We think about the year that just went by and look forward to new goals and resolutions, full of excitement about the world of opportunities that comes with a fresh start!
Have you thought about the new habits you will want to work on? If so, starting today and setting the building blocks for your new life might be of great assistance to survive Christmas in the best shape, ensuring you carry the least financial stress into the new year.
Ultimately, being proactive in managing your spending will keep you far ahead! However, if you are thinking about accumulating a bit of credit card debt over this period, speak to your mortgage broker to develop an action plan. At Rise High our team is always happy to support you, providing professional advice so you can feel really confident going into the new year!