Christmas shopping time can be dangerous, you can over spend without even realising. Financial expert, Anthony Bell shares 12 of his top tips to budgeting over this Christmas holiday.
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1. Actually do a budget
We all know the benefits of having a budget but the hard part is actually doing it. There’s no doubt that the mere process of completing a budget will prepare you well and ultimately save you money.
2. Kris Kringle
Many families rather give a gift to all family members draw a name out of the hat and give to just that person/couple, even if it this applies just to adults and the kids still receive from everyone. This is a big time and money saver.
3. Limit on spending for presents
Have an agreed cap in the amount that each of the family members will spend on Christmas.
4. Monitor your spend and watch the use of credit cards
Having prepared a budget, monitor your progress as you go. It’s too late if you find out when that weighty credit card bill comes in the new year. Better still, save up and spend just from savings rather than on credit cards. Pressing “cheque or savings” rather than “credit” on the eftpos machine brings a reality to your spending and avoids a huge post Christmas credit crunch.
5. Consider boxing day/post Christmas sales
An increasing trend is to provide a “promise” card so you buy the gift in the post Christmas sales when often huge savings can be made.
6. Make a donation to a tax deductible charity
Instead of a material gift, consider making a donation to a charity. If they’re a “deductible gift recipient” you’ll get a tax deduction for the amount you donate.
7. Christmas hampers
Many swear by Christmas hampers as a great way of carefully planning for what you’ll need and saving money along the way.
8. Buy presents during the year when they’re on special
The savvy present buyers start thinking about Christmas the moment the last one’s over. This gives you the chance either in the post Christmas sales or indeed anytime throughout the year to get a bargain. If you can be this disciplined, you really can make a huge difference to your total spend.
9. Don’t get carried away
It is so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the season, particularly with all the Christmas marketing campaigns initiated by retailers. This is where having a budget becomes important if you’re susceptible to impulse buying.
10. Alcohol limitation
I don’t want to seem like the fun police, but it’s often the endless Christmas events that can really hurt you financially. If enjoying a drink is your thing, that’s your choice, but often people get into financial grief when they go overboard at every event or excuse for a Christmas drink. Which leads to my next point…
11. Use public transport not taxis
Where you can and you can travel safely, consider public transport. Depending on where you live it’s often taxi fares that can really mount up if you’re a party animal at this time of year.
12. It’s the thought that counts
Lastly, it might sound trite but it really is the thought that counts. People will not judge you on the amount you spend on gifts, rather the thought that is put into them. Some of the best gifts can be a homemade card or a gift you have put together yourself, rather than the “easy” more expensive option.
Contact Bell Partners for specific advice. www.bellpartners.com