According to Commonwealth Bank Christmas Consumer Spending Study, Australians spent approximately $10.7 Billion in 2018, with millennial’s spending up to $1000 on gifts.
We asked Barry Wilkinson from Statewide Wealth Group who takes budgeting seriously, to provide some helpful tips for our readers during to he festive period.
Christmas Spending reaches it’s peak from 15th to 22nd December. However getting organised and planning ahead can save you money and stress during what is already a busy time of year.
It will also mean that you kick off 2020 with fewer debts and lower stress.
1. SET A BUDGET
Rather than fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to Christmas shopping, step back and make a plan of how much you’re going to spend on family and friends. Set the boundaries and limits so spending doesn’t get out of control. We recommend taking that cash out from the ATM when you go shopping, rather than mindlessly tapping your money away. It’s much easier to keep track when you see the notes in your wallet disappearing.
Then getting ready for next year, throughout the year put a small amount away in a designated bank account and let that budget build up slowly rather than being hit with the extra costs all at once. If you follow the five bank account practice, pop the money into either the Discretionary Expenses or Savings account.
2. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
While using a set amount of cash is one way to track your spending, another is to create a list (either a digital list on your phone or a good old-fashioned pen and paper) and keep track of the present you bought and how much you spent. Or keep all of the receipts from your Christmas spending and keep a running tally.
It will not only help with your spending this Christmas but will let you make a more accurate budget or next year. Set a reminder each week to look over what you’ve spent to make sure you’re on track.
3. SHOP EARLY
The more organised you are and the earlier you shop, the more likely you’ll find bargain or better value presents. With a bit of time up your sleeve, you can research online and find the presents at the best price.
Towards the end of November a lot of retailers have substantial discounts or free shipping for Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales – if you know what you want to buy, it’s a great way to save some dollars! (And for a lot of online retailers, if you create an account or sign up for their newsletter you get even more of a discount. It’s worth doing for that purchase – you can always unsubscribe down the track.)
4. LIVE BY THE LIST
There’s a reason Santa made a list and checked it twice – and it’s not just because he’s absent-minded. When we deviate from the list, we tend to overspend. A bit of forward planning means we’re more efficient in our shopping. Of course we may overlook someone and need to add them to the list at the last minute – but preparation prevents panicked purchases!
5. GO PERSONAL WITH SOMETHING HANDMADE
If you want to give something personal, memorable and one-of-a-king, make it! Seriously, Pinterest has a wealth of ideas and instructions. If you aren’t super crafty, you can bake up some delicious Christmas treats, and put together a gift basket. Nothing says “Happy Christmas” like home made and handmade.
6. SECRET SANTA CAN SAVE MONEY
If you have a large family or group of friends, it can really add up buying a lot of presents – and the recipient gets lots of little things they may not use. Why not get together and do a Secret Santa. Each person might have a larger spending limit for just the one present – which means the person getting the present gets something of value, but the givers save money on buying many small things.
7. THE GIFT OF GIVING
What can you get for the people in your life who have everything? Nothing. Instead, give money in their name to their favourite charity. Create a card or get one from the charity, detailing the donation and the difference they made. If you really feel the need to give them something tangible, find a charity that specialises in fair trade goods that give jobs to those in need. That way everyone is blessed.
So this Christmas, don’t walk away with stress and debt as well as a stocking full of presents. Plan ahead, budget, track your spending and focus on the most important things – spending time with loved ones and enjoying their presence.
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Source: Information, Drawings and Images
All article information is sourced and available for review from referenced locations.
Information: Statewide Wealth Group
Images: Statewide Wealth Group and Unsplash
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