It happens every year – the shocking realization that Christmas is just around the corner.
For many of us, Christmas is a happy time of the year, but also a financial challenge with a lot of added costs and pressures.
To make sure you’re financially front and center, John Cuthbertson FCA, Chief Financial Officer of ANZ Chartered Accountants (CA ANZ), posted his top five tips for keeping your Christmas budget on track.
âNo one wants to wake up at the start of the year with a hangover – financial or otherwise – and there are budgeting and savings steps you can take right now to prevent that from happening,â said Mr. Cuthbertson.
âNow, of course, we’re not suggesting that you have to be the cranky one – many families have built up a savings bank during the pandemic and should rightly hope to spend some of it.
“We’re just suggesting that there are steps you can take right now to avoid wasting everything on a holiday-fueled Christmas shopping spree.” Just like with food and alcohol, the key to success is moderation, moderation, moderation.
âTo help you set and stick to your Christmas budget, we’ve put together this list of five top tips. “
1. Gifts – choose your limit and stick to it
âEvery year my family says, ‘No presents this year! “- and every year they bring gifts,” Cuthbertson said.
âWhen you buy for both sides of the family, the costs can add up quickly.
âTo keep your spending in check, I recommend that you pick a total amount that you’re willing to spend on gifts and divide it by the number of people you’re buying for. Then you have a set amount for each person to work with.
“And remember – young children don’t care about the cost of their gift, so don’t get carried away.”
2. Catering – don’t go overboard and look for specials
âI think most families over-supply on Christmas Day, but there’s only a limited amount of ham you can (or, at least, should!) Ingest.
âTo avoid this, plan ahead with your family to decide who brings which dish. Also keep an eye out for discounts and specials – they can make a real difference to the grand total when you save a few bucks here and there.
“Your waistline will thank you and your wallet!” “
3. When traveling – find the best prices
âWith the easing of travel restrictions, people will want to hit the road or the skies to see their families this Christmas.
âWhile there are offers to be made, unfortunately they are rarely at Christmas, with fuel costs often increasing and accommodation during the holiday season being extremely expensive.
“To get the best value for your money a la Bowser, use apps like Gaspy to find the cheapest fuel near you – in some areas there has been a difference of 30 cents per liter just by choosing the right one.” station.
âAnd search online for the best accommodation and flight rates. Some platforms can save you a considerable amount of money for the same room in the same hotel, which can be used for other things (like my next point!). â
4. Have a reserve of cash in case things go wrong.
âThings can go wrong during the silly season – so it’s important to have a stash of cash in case you need to call a plumber to fix a broken faucet or a leaking shower while the family is visiting.
âThese calls can be incredibly expensive, especially after hours. So, skim off a stash of cash that stays intact in case you find yourself in hot water at some point.
5. Do not charge the credit card
âCredit cards can be a useful tool from time to time, but what you pay today you have to pay off tomorrow, often at an exorbitant interest rate.
âLook at your expenses and ask yourself, ‘do I really need this and can I afford it? If the answer is no to either, the solution isn’t the credit card, it’s to go.
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