Christmas Saving Tips

Christmas has yet again managed to sneak up on us and is now just less than a month away.

Last minute spending can be dangerous, particularly when paired up with a credit card.  Overspending typically occurs when shopping for Christmas gifts stressed and under pressure.  Beat the crowds and aim to get your Christmas shopping done now, or better still shop online where you can to avoid the large crowds.

Top 16 Tips for Christmas Savings

You may have tried some of the below tips already but hopefully there will be a few more ideas you can add:

  1. Decide on a budget and stick to it
  2. Plan your Christmas gifts early
  3. Pre-save for next Christmas by setting up a regular savings plan into another bank account that you can’t easily access.
  4. Be realistic.
  5. Avoid using credit cards where possible.
  6. If you must use a credit card, deposit your daily spend amount onto your credit card account after each shopping day.
  7. Think of non-expensive creative gifts that you could give your loved ones.  Often these types of gifts are valued the most.
  8. Avoid the last-minute Christmas rush.  You’ll only end up spending more than you intended to.
  9. 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.
  10. Join up with friends and family and buy in bulk, especially food and drink.
  11. Consider setting a gift value limit on all members of your family or operate a Secret Santa scheme where you each buy one gift for one member of your family
  12. If there are any friends and family you won’t see until the New Year, hold off on buying presents until the January sales.
  13. Take advantage of complimentary gift-wrapping services. Use the paper you bought in last year’s post-Christmas sales.
  14. Make your own gift tags by cutting a small piece of matching wrapping paper and folding it in half.  Write the “To and From” on the inside of the paper and tape it to the wrapped present.  This is also great for scraps of paper that are too small to wrap a gift, but too large to toss away. Cut up old Christmas cards make wonderful gift tags too!
  15. Don’t try to get all your tree ornaments in one year (this one is especially true for young people just starting out), it took your parents years to collect what they have and each ornament is more special because of it.
  16. Make a donation to a charity on that person’s behalf.  There are many worthy organisations in Australia and internationally.

Save for Christmas

Although it may be a little late to help for this year, you should start preparing for Christmas 2013 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 and put it in a high interest savings account separate to the account you use for your daily expenses.  Before you know it, next Christmas will be here and you will have saved up a sizable amount to afford your Christmas spending with ease.

Shopping Lists

Shopping is one of the biggest jobs at Christmas, so to simplify the task make a master-shopping list of everything you will need, including any new cooking equipment. Divide the list into perishable and non-perishable goods including wines and spirits.

  • Buy all non-perishable goods, wines and spirits well in advance as many supermarkets and shops stock them as early as October.
  • Many online wine and drink companies will sell wines in mixed cases and will recommend wines suitable for Christmas food so use their expertise. They also deliver, one less job to do.
  • Order any specialist goods (perishable and non-perishable) well in advance and check if they deliver.
  • By creating menus and thereby shopping lists, impulse shopping is less of a hazard as is dashing out last minute to buy ingredients.
  • Be hard on yourself – set a budget and stick to it. No matter how appealing the fresh crayfish looks, if its not in the budget or on the menu, NO.
  • Set aside time to surf – don’t get the board out, but surf the internet for online stores that will deliver. This will not only save you money on petrol but on that precious commodity of time. Freeing up time from trawling around stores gives time to plan, create menus and cook. Buying on line also helps limit impulse buying.
  • A great way to save money is homemade food gifts like a jar of jam or marmalade or a box of homemade Christmas cookies. Homemade gifts are always fun to make and lovely to receive.

Avoid The January Credit Card Bill Shock

If you really must use a credit card, 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 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 the person is more likely to remember and treasure tha another tie or pair of socks.

Christmas cards can really bump up the seasonal expenditure, and while there are cheaper versions around, a nice home-made card which the kids have put their creative efforts into is a lovely alternative. Crafty, home-made decorations are really fashionable.

Boost your income for Christmas

If your income is short, plan a holiday job. This provides great additional income with no commitment after the Christmas season. Department stores will be looking for Christmas help from October. Or head to a site like Career One or Seek and search “Christmas” to find a casual job.

It’s also time to act to clear your house out. Clearing out old makes way for new and if you sell your ”treasures”, you could make a fortune. Another great way to sell old gear to raise Christmas cash is through eBay . The most popular categories on eBay are Clothing and Accessories, Consumer Electronics, and Home and Garden. It’s surprisingly easy to sell on eBay. It takes about 15 minutes to list an item and then all you have to do is to answer any questions that may come through from potential sellers, and post the item once it’s paid for.

Make time for you

This is your Christmas as well. You may have built time for you in the time plan, make sure you stick to it. Allow time during or at the end of cooking to chill out a little, get ready or have a drink. Merry Christmas!

For more tips on helping you to grow your wealth and finances, contact the financial planners at Profusion Planning on (08) 9316 3050.