January – Save Now For Next Christmas!

What a whirlwind Christmas was!  Gift giving for family and friends, toys for the kiddies, left overs in the fridge and now its January!  YAY!!

The wrapping paper from last years Christmas gifts still clogs your bin… and it won’t be long until you are back at work again, for another year of fun, happiness and joy!  That is until your utility bills come in the mail for January, February, March… and your credit card statement follows closely only to remind you of all the fun you had… want to do this again next Christmas?  Our guess would be no.  Then why not start saving for next Christmas? 

Set Expectations 

Do kids really need lots of presents?  If you are horrified by the amount you have spent this year, now is the time to have the conversations and set the expectations with the adults in your family and friends about how you can reduce the pressure on everybody’s budget for next year without losing any of the fun along the way.

One of the biggest expenses at Christmas is gift giving.  We know that it’s important for your children to have presents, but do they really need 10 different things from multiple family members? Probably not…  Why not ask your children what they really want even if it’s a large ticket item?  This way the adults can band together, chip in for one special high dollar value present, and your children learn to understand the true meaning of Christmas (which isn’t consumerism and overspending). It’s a win/win for the adults on their budgets and a great lesson for your children to help them learn the value of money and not throwing out stocking fillers that never see the light of day after the tinsel comes down.

For adults it’s a lot easier to have a family Kris Kringle, but this can also be introduced to the children.  It is a big help, especially when some families are large and spending $50-$100 per person can get very expensive! If you keep gift giving costs to a maximum value you all agree to such as a $20-$50 maximum it keeps it affordable without putting extra strain on the budget.  A Kris Kringle can be one person gifts for one person only really reducing the financial burden but still having fun.

Keep Christmas Lunch and Dinner Simple

As Andrew looks back as a child, he remembers Christmas lunch and how his aunts and all the “women” were always in the kitchen cooking and preparing Christmas lunch for the “men.”  He never got to spend time with his aunts because they were always doing the dishes, and having a few sneaky wines in the kitchen.  His point is… because the meal was so large with all the trimmings, he never got to spend time with the women in his family because they were slaving away all day.  Christmas for Andrew was always about the memories and experiences and for him looking back it wasn’t the case at all…

If we remember the message of Christmas which is being together with family and those that we love then keep the lunch simple.  By keeping the experiences alive and cutting down costs at the same time you can create another Christmas win/win.  If you ask friends and family to bring a plate of something different, then all come together as one, then the cost remains shared and no one person is lumped with the burden of expense and preparation.  Drinks, nibbles, salads, and alcohol should also be shared to ease the Christmas burden.  You will find that when you spread out the responsibilities and costs you will get to spend more time with the ones you love.

Start Putting Money Away Now

Once you have discovered how much this Christmas has cost you, you may be surprised.  Would you do it again?  If not, what would you change?  Would you put a plan in place now?  Who can help you?

A great way to track your Christmas spending would be to keep a journal of each cost leading up to the day.  January is a great place to start!  Your journal would include spending on toy specials throughout the year (Big-W and Target Toy Sales), any money spent on food, presents, alcohol etc, and all other associated costs leading up to the event.  If the Christmas just passed cost you over $1000 then you would have to put away $20 per week, each and every week as a commitment to achieve this amount of money saved by Christmas to avoid dipping into your credit card, Zip Pay of Afterpay!  This would be a weekly commitment each and every single week.  For some, $20 just doesn’t seem that much… but what if Christmas cost more?  Could you commit to a higher level of money out of your cashflow each and every week for the entire year?

Some people find budgeting, spending and cashflow really scary.  It really isn’t.  Budgeting, spending and cashflow is all about lots of little steps on a consistent and regular basis allowing you to live the life you truly want; without debt!

Once you have a plan in place you eliminate the need for services such as Afterpay, Zip Pay and even the use of your credit card and can spend cash for Christmas.  No stress about credit card payments in the mail or store card payments in the mail, which all seem to arrive right around the same time your utilities do in January/February.

If you have the want and the will to get off the debt cycle and debt hangover for next Christmas then speak with us today!  We can help you gain confidence and clarity with your cashflow to ensure you do not have a Christmas Credit Hangover in the new year.  What have you got to lose?  Speak with us today to find out just how easy Christmas can be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALYSSA MATES is the “other” director and money coach at Adelaide Budgeting.  Alyssa shines a light and provides a female perspective into budgeting and for Andrew a great one.  Alyssa understands the issues around household budgeting and knows the value of a dollar.  She understands the anxiety around shopping and purchases and is an avid bargain hunter!  Alyssa is proud to be a valued member of the Adelaide Budgeting team as she offers much insight (and much needed insight) from a female perspective!

In between helping clients and working closely with Andrew, Alyssa enjoys blogging and marketing, walking along the beach, and spending time with her labrador (Lilly).  Alyssa is also an avid collector and a little like a magpie (she likes shiny things), and loves a bargain.