Time to start your Christmas Budget…

I know! Can you believe we’re already talking about Christmas?!

It may seem a little early, but Christmas is one expense that has the biggest effect on our cashflow every year so the earlier we can start planning for it the better.

Christmas means different things to different people but the joy of giving gifts is something that’s very special to most so sometimes this can cause us to blow the budget!

As your Wealth Coaches, this is exactly why it can be so hard to let you know that you don’t have the funds available that you’d like, so we’re hoping that we can all see the benefits of a bit of early planning!

Having a strategy for Christmas gift buying is the best way to stay within your budget and take the financial stress out of your Christmas experience. So grab a pen and paper and check out these tips for getting organised this year.

Start with your Calendar – The long list of festive catch ups can add to your expenses but most people don’t factor that in. Write down the events, dinners, family and work functions that you usually have and the expected cost. This will help you budget accurately for the overall cost of Christmas. Things to consider – Food, drinks, travel expenses.

Time to Write your List – Now that you have your list of functions, this will help you write out the list of people that you’re going to see and who you would like to buy a gift for.
Depending on how big this list is, you may then want to consider things like organising a “Kris Kringle” between the adults or even the kids. This can work out better sometimes because instead of having to buy a lot of smaller gifts of low value, you can buy only a few gifts for a little higher value,
giving you some more decent gift options. So, for example, instead of 10 gifts at $20 each ($200) you could buy 1 gift for $100 and save yourself some money! If everyone agrees on the amount that needs to be spent per person and there’s an option of providing gift ideas it works out great for everyone.

Set that Budget! – Be sure to take into account the overall spending amount you’d like to stick to so that you have a limit in mind (you can contact us to help work this out). Then, add up the funds you’ll need for the Christmas functions and subtract it from your overall limit – this amount is what you have available to spend on gifts. So with this list of people to buy for, set a budget for what you’d like to spend on each. Keep in mind that part of your Weekly Living Allowance can be allocated towards functions or gifts to reduce additional redraw requests as you have enough weeks to spread out the spending.

Research – You can then come up with gift ideas and start researching the cheapest place to buy them or perhaps consider some homemade options for a more unique gift. Baking some beautiful biscuits and putting them in a mason jar with a Christmas themed ribbon is a great option!

Stick to your List – Keep checking and updating your list as you go. When you find something cheaper than expected it can either make room to spend a bit more on someone else or save you money overall. Be strict on yourself though! No impulse buys. Keep to your budget.

It might not sound too exciting but by having a plan and taking a bit more time to put some thought into it you can take out the financial stress at this time of year. You may also enjoy the experience a little more knowing that you haven’t blown the budget and it won’t cause you to struggle for all of January until you catch up again! No panicked overspending but still beautiful gifts for your loved ones – true Christmas joy!

Sarah Matzouranis

*Comparison rates are calculated on the basis of secured credit of $150,000 over a 25 year term. Please note this comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.