Christmas managed to sneak up on us again and is now only just over a month away.  Our financial planners give you some tips on how to avoid the financial woes that the festive season can cause.

With Christmas only weeks away, now is the time to start saving.  Generally, most people wait until December before they start their Christmas shopping however last minute spending can be dangerous, particularly when paired up with a credit card.  Shopping for Christmas gifts when stressed and under pressure typically leads to overspending.  So, if you can, beat the crowds and aim to get your Christmas shopping down now to beat the crowds, or better still shop online where you can avoid the inevitable stress that large shopping crowds create every festive season.
Save for Christmas

Although it may be a little late to help for this year, you should start preparing for Christmas 2011 by setting up a regular savings plan.  Add up your usual spending at Christmas time (don’t forget to factor in the cost of holidays, food and other entertainment costs in addition to gifts) and divide this amount by 52.  You should aim to set aside this amount each week from your pay packet and put it in a high interest savings account separate to the account you use for your daily expenses.  The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” works wonders here preventing you from spending your hard earned savings.  Before you know it, next Christmas will be here and you will have saved up a sizable amount to afford your Christmas spendings with ease.

Avoid The January Credit Card Bill Shock

Most of us use a credit card when making Christmas purchases.  Swiping that plastic makes it all too easy to lose track of just how much we are spending.  Before we know it, the monthly credit card bill arrives and that inevitable sick feeling that accompanies it after the festive season.  “Did I really spend that much??”.  If you really must use a credit card (use cash or EFT where possible so you actually see your money coming out of your account as you spend it), at the end of each day add up all your expenses you’ve put on your card and make a payment to your credit card account.  This will prevent a nasty surprise on your credit card statement and help you to monitor your spending as you go so it doesn’t get out of hand without realising it.

Christmas Gifts – Do You Have to Spend Lots of Money?

Living in the lucky country, the vast majority of us have more than we could ever want or need.  Often, we buy expensive gifts more out of obligation and expectation.  Remember that some of the best gifts don’t necessarily have to cost much money (or any money at all!).  With a bit of creativity and thought, you can come up with something personal that that person is more likely to remember and treasure that another tie or pair of socks.  Better still, make a donation to a charity on that person’s behalf.  There are many worthy organisations both in Australia and Internationally who you can support in lieu of a normal Christmas gift.

Top 8 Tips for Christmas Savings

1. Plan your Christmas gifts early

2. Pre-save for next Christmas by setting up a regular savings plan into another bank account that you can’t easily access

3. Be realistic.  Does your child really need so many presents?

4. Avoid using credit cards where possible.

5. If you must use a credit card, deposit your daily spend amount onto your credit card account after each shopping day.

6.  Think of non-expensive creative gifts that you could give your loved ones.  Often these types of gifts are valued the most.

7.  Avoid the last-minute Christmas rush.  You’ll only end up spending more than you intended to.

8.  Buy online.  You’ll be calmer and more likely to make a well-considered decision about what you’re buying and less likely to overspend.

For more tips on helping you to grow your wealth and finances, contact the financial planners at Financial Spectrum for your free first financial planning meeting in Sydney or call 1300 886 018.

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One Response to “How to Save for Christmas Tips”

  1. Tamara Duffy December 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Thank you, some great financial tips for x-mas!