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The Christmas Crunch time: How to avoid a financial hangover this silly season

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It’s also the most expensive. In fact, many of us can end up paying off the silly season for months and wondering just where all that money went.

In this month’s blog, we’ve put together our top tips to keep you from experiencing a Christmas credit crunch so you can come out the other side still full of cheer!

1. Set a budget…and stick to it!

How many times have we said, “I can’t believe how much it all ended up costing!?” Well, people who make a thorough budget and stick to it never have to ask that question – they always know what’s coming!

Before you start the Christmas shopping for the year sit down and plan who you need to buy presents for and how much you’re willing and able to spend per person.

Next, think about a food and alcohol budget and what you’ll need to purchase for your festivities.

Use online shopping platforms to help with your planning so you can compare costs and get an idea of what to expect.

2. Track your spending

There’s no point setting a budget unless you’re sticking to it. Once your shopping begins, make sure you keep a running total of how much you’re spending and on what, so you keep on top of it.

This year’s spending will also help you plan next year’s budget as you’ll have a better understanding of how to allocate your budget.

3. Start a Secret Santa tradition

Instead of buying for everyone in the family, why not start a Secret Santa tradition where you only need to buy for one person?

The website secretsantaorganizer.com is a fantastic tool. Simply plug in the names of the people in the secret Santa pool and the system will randomly generate a match for each person to buy for. You can also create rules such as people not buying for their partners.

This is a great way for everyone in the family to reduce their spending and have a bit of fun at the same time.

4. Ask for contributions

Hosting Christmas or Boxing Day festivities this year? Don’t be afraid to ask your guests for contributions. Guests like to feel that they’re helping and hosting on your own can make a serious dent in the bank account. “Bring a plate” is the Kiwi way and it’s a great money saving tip.

5. Think about your gift philosophies

When it comes to gift giving think about how you can be more mindful and put thought rather than dollars behind what you do for others.

Santa Claus

If you have children who are still being visited by the jolly red man, consider making his gifts more about the fun and less about the extravagance.

A good thing to keep in mind is that for many New Zealand children, Santa won’t be able afford to buy them much and it’s often a source of confusion for children why they received something small from Santa while friends received an iPad or a new bike. That’s why it can be a nice idea to let Santa take a more frugal route.

Want, Need, Wear, Read

This is a great philosophy, usually employed when buying for children. As you plan what you buy for your children, think of the rhyme ‘Want, Need, Wear, Read.” That means that for Christmas you buy something your child wants, something they need, something they’ll wear and something they’ll read.

It’s a great way of keeping focused on what to buy your children without going overboard. Note, there’s only one ‘want’ in there!

Give the gift of time

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s just how important people are. We’ve focussed on nurturing relationships and what’s important in life more than ever before and there’s been a whole lot of perspective thrown at us.

This year why not think about an alternative approach to gifting. Rather than buying into the consumerism, what about giving a gift of an experience or time together? A drive along the coast followed by a lovingly prepared picnic somewhere quiet would likely mean just as much to a loved one as something you’ve picked up from Farmers, if not more. It’s also a great way of embracing a less is more mentality.

Got some other Christmas saving ideas that you think we’ve missed? Head to our Facebook page here and let us know!