Christmas comes at the same time every year and yet it still manages to catch us unprepared. It’s never too early to start preparing for Christmas, and by planning ahead you can reduce the sudden impact that the holiday season can have on your wallet.
Here are some simple, practical things you can do to start preparing for the holiday season right now:
Save a little
First, start by putting away a little bit every week. If you start at the new year and put away just $5 every week, by December 15 you’ll have $250!
One great way to do this is taking advantage of supermarket Christmas Clubs. These are a simple savings schemes where you pay small, regular amounts which you can spend at the supermarket in December. A great way to make sure you have enough to feed your whānau during the holidays, and supermarkets will often give you bonuses when redeeming them.
Setting a Budget and Committing to it
You’ve put aside some money, you know your budget, now comes the hard part: sticking to that limit. This will help you avoid that last minute rush and panic, which can lead to overspending.
It’s always tempting to go just a little bit over to buy that one extra thing or use the credit card. You still need to pay the rent and power bills, and the kids will be going back to school soon. Sticking to the plan ensures you have enough for the holiday, and enough to cover your regular expenses after.
Spread the love
There are also ways to reduce the overall time and cost.
Ask everyone who can to contribute. Divide up the chores of cooking and grocery shopping, use homegrown vegetables if you can, and consider homemade treats instead of store bought. It’s almost always cheaper to make something at home than to buy it at a store, and people will always appreciate the care and effort you’ve put in.
Talk with everyone about setting a spending limit. Set a price max on bought gifts, consider buying gifts only for children, or maybe arrange a secret santa for your family. Additionally, handmade gifts can be a great alternative; creative gifts like preserves or crafts, or vouchers for your time can be even more valuable and appreciated.
And don’t forget the gifts you are giving can often be wrapped for free or a very small donation at gift wrapping stations around your town or local mall.
We can help you get ready for this holiday season. Talk with one of our financial mentors:
Phone: 0800 345 123
Or visit our website to chat with a financial mentor
MoneyTalks is for everyone: individuals, family, whānau, anyone struggling with their finances in any way.
We are available to help Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and on Saturdays 10am to 2pm. We are here to help you.