Most of us roll our eyes when we start seeing shopping centres spruik Christmas merchandise in November. While it’s important not to get caught up in the festivities too early, now’s actually a great time to start prepping to ensure a budget blow-out doesn’t derail your mortgage repayments over the silly season.
The best bit? By following some of the below tips, you can turn the retailers’ early mind games against them and save money instead!
1. Buy food ahead of time
Christmas time tends to lead to a lot of socialising. Even if you aren’t the one catering, requests to bring a plate can add up over time.
Make a point of keeping an eye out for food and drinks specials ahead of time and buy items like boxes of chocolates, long life snacks and drinks when they are on special. That will make it much easier to stretch the food budget over Christmas.
2. Opt for Secret Santas
For people who have a large family or friendship circle, Christmas can lead to a long list of presents to buy. Many people prefer not to get extra clutter for their kids, so suggest a Secret Santa arrangement instead of buying for every person.
This way you can put more thought into each gift as well as not creating more stress.
3. Homemade wrapping paper
If the end of term results in your kids bringing home sheets of artwork, why not recycle these and use them for wrapping paper for the extended family?
Not only does this mean that the kids get to see their artwork being passed on to loved ones, but it also saves you money on buying wrapping paper that will be in the bin by Christmas morning.
4. Shift the focus
Rather than dwelling on social media posts of the perfect Christmas morning with matching pyjamas, shift your focus to the true meaning of Christmas: helping others who are less fortunate.
For instance, instead of getting new books for Christmas Eve story time you could choose books from the library and make a donation to charity that helps literacy in at-need communities.
5. Keep a track of your spending
With a large percentage of Australians overspending at Christmas (and feeling guilty about it), it’s important to keep a budget for Christmas and any associated events – like holidays – over that time.
By following a budget, and starting now, you can spread out your spending – $200 a week over five weeks is much better than $1000 in the week before Christmas.
6. A final few tips
– Create a list of who you need to buy for and brainstorm present ideas before you go shopping.
– Make your own gifts.
– Buy online when sales specials are on. This can help you avoid pressure from sales staff and impulse purchases.
– If hosting a Christmas day event, organise it early so attendees can help out with the food and drinks.
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