There’s no need to call off Christmas

There’s no need to call off Christmas

As a child, you would have spent the entire year looking forward to Christmas. With the promise of presents, lots of food and holidays, who wouldn’t? But now as an adult, you’re sitting on the other side of the ledger, perhaps longing for the simpler times, when your biggest concern was what presents you’d nag your parents about the most. Now, a lot of us are asking the question ‘how am I going to afford it all this year’?

Unless you plan to take the Sheriff of Nottingham’s advice, and ‘call off Christmas’, you’ll want to do some kind of budgeting prior to starting your Christmas shopping. Here are a few simple tips that might help, regardless of how much you have to spend.

Set an amount that you’re comfortable with spending

It might sound obvious, it really is obvious, but we all need to be reminded. Decide on a total figure that you’re comfortable with spending, taking into account all the other outgoings you have over the period, and a safety margin for unexpected costs. Working backwards from a single figure will ensure that your spending doesn’t get away from you.

Have a plan and stick to it

Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to get, where you’ll get it from, and how much it will cost you, resist the temptation to make impulsive purchases when you’re out shopping (this also applies to online shopping!). Retailers put a massive emphasis on pushing add-on sales during the Christmas shopping period because of the huge number of shoppers in-store, but wandering the aisles aimlessly  is a sure-fire way to a budget blowout.

Resist buying presents for yourself during the Christmas period

It can often to be tempting to tack on a few gifts for yourself while you’ve got the wallet out, but it pays to hold off until after the Christmas shopping frenzy is over. Your friends and family will be disappointed if you take this approach to buying their presents, but if you can wait a few more weeks you’re likely to get what you want for a discounted price. Who knows? You might even get what you want from someone else if you drop enough hints.

Don’t go into debt for something that is not a long-term investment

Short-term personal debt is expensive, unsustainable and can easily lead to a downward spiral that’s hard to get out of. Some feel that it’s ok to take on a debt burden if they’re doing it to make other people happy, but it’s not worth taking out even a small loan if it leads to bigger problems further down the road.

Do it yourself

If you can’t put in a lot of money, make up for it by putting in more thought or making something with your own effort. Something as simple as sending handmade cards will be less expensive, and actually means a lot more to the recipient. If you don’t have any existing skills or ideas on what you can make, videos on youtube and various how-to sites can provide you with helpful step-by-step instructions.

Hopefully some of these ideas come in handy while you’re negotiating the next month. Maybe the best tip (and possibly the hardest one to follow) is to try and remember that this time of year should be all about having fun with your family and friends and not worrying about money.

Kelly Pillay is the Managing Director of KLI and a representative of Australian Financial Services Licence: 452054. This information is of a general nature only and may not be relevant to your particular circumstances. The circumstances of each investor are different and you should seek advice from KLI Accountants & Wealth Managers who can consider if the strategies and products are right for you.