Somehow, it’s that time of year again and Christmas is right around the corner. Thanks to the last few months, the silly season seems to have been even more hotly anticipated this year with many people getting their decorations up early and hitting the shops as soon as lockdown allowed.
But even though Christmas is a fantastic time for eating way more than we should and spending time with loved ones, there are pitfalls to the ‘most wonderful time of the year’.
Christmas cheer usually comes with a sprinkling of Christmas stress and increased pressure on the bank account. How prepared are you for it all?
If you’ve already begun your Christmas shopping, then cheers to you! You most likely wouldn’t have had to deal with the holiday chaos and be able to actually enjoy the festivities. If you haven’t started yet, today is the next best time to get to it!
But first, have a read of our top tips to getting through the Christmas period with your mental health and your bank balance intact!
Get started early
Don’t wait to get your Christmas shopping started! Take advantage of sales and stock up on gifts for people throughout the year. There’s no rule saying that all Christmas shopping must be done in a mad rush during December. Imagine if every time you went to the mall, you picked up a present for someone.
Queues are less likely, carparks and parking issues won’t be a problem, the kids are (Covid-depending!) still at school and you can take your time to choose the perfect gift.
Wondering if online shopping is an option to stop those problems? Absolutely, but if you haven’t done your Christmas shopping by now, you’ve probably missed the boat to get it done online. Couriers are stretched and we’re still experiencing major delivery delays thanks to Covid so unless you’re organised, going the online route may be more trouble than it’s worth.
Make yourself a list (and a budget) beforehand and stick to it
Knowing what you need beforehand will help you plan a realistic amount to spend on gifts. Having a good idea of how much it will cost, and budgeting accordingly will help keep the stress away and your bank balance under control.
You might like to squirrel money away throughout the year to help with Christmas. $10 a week will mean over $500 for Christmas spending and it’s a much gentler way to manage the Christmas spending hit.
When it comes to budgeting, try putting a per-gift money amount limit on what you’ll allow yourself to spend on each person.
Make sure that you also give yourself some wriggle room, especially when it comes to food and drink. Price variations or items being sold out are inevitable.
No idea how much Christmas is costing you each year? Track your spending. That way you’re in a better position to plan for next year because you can better understand what you’re in for!
Read adverts and purchase terms carefully
Whether online or in-person, you should always understand exactly what you are buying and the terms and conditions - including the return/refund policies, warranties and shipping and delivery costs. A cheaper priced item may not always be the best deal. The terms and conditions could end up resulting in your purchase being the costliest option available so keep an eye out!
Christmas isn’t supposed to be a burden, and nobody wants to dread the most anticipated time of the year but with a dusting of organisation, a sprinkle of research and some quick calculations you can be on track for your most stress-free Christmas ever.
Here’s to a wonderful Christmas holidays for you and your loved ones!