There are many different beliefs and traditions surrounding Christmas, but one thing is for sure… from its start, it was meant to be about joy and celebration. These days for some, it seems more a time of stress and debt.
If ‘it’s only x days to Xmas’ curls your liver, the jingles are grating, your credit card still hasn’t quite recovered from last time, and you still haven’t been shopping… here’s some top tips to keep the finances at least, under control.
If the thought of more debt or the threat of overspending kills your festive spirit, now is the time to take action and make this year the start of something different.
Christmas after Christmas, many allow themselves to fall victim to marketing campaigns, peer pressure to buy more than is affordable, when in truth, family and friends just want a gift with meaning and love, and not having us give beyond our means.
So, keep it simple. So here’s a few tips on how to start saving. Grab a pen and paper and write down everyone you bought presents for last year. Now…
- Cross off people that you haven’t seen all year. If you can’t be bothered actually catching up in person, why buy a gift? Send a card and let them know you’re looking forward to catching up in the New Year. You’ve just given yourself an out, and let them know that you don’t expect to be exchanging gifts.
- Look at the families you usually buy individual gifts for. As an alternate, get something thoughtful for the whole family. A hamper, a movie tickets, a ‘family adventure’ somewhere. Let them know you’re giving a family gift this year so they can change their own plans if necessary.
- Look at your extended family and think of ways to lessen the burden of giving everyone a gift. Think of ideas like buying only for the children, a $10 lucky dip, secret Santa or your own unique raffle!
- For the oldies in your family, give from the heart. They really appreciate your time, memories, a cooked meal, photos and words that mean something. Enlist the help of the younger members of the family to make some new memories for Nan and Pop.
- For those you simply must buy for, just stop and think. Just because someone wants a $100 gift, doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Try and think of something they might need that is within your budget or combine funds with one or more friends to afford what they want.
Be kind to yourselves this year. Buy only what you need. Spend only what you have. And relax, safe in the knowledge that you’re doing the very best for you and your loved ones and not starting 2015 under a burden of financial debt.