It may only be June but there are less than 6 months until Christmas – eek! We all know that Christmas can be a really expensive time of year. From presents to food, decorations to travel, there always seems to be something else to spend your money on during the festive period.
Even if you draw up your lists and get organised early, sometimes there is a last minute spanner in the works or you are tempted to get just one extra gift for someone. But there are some really easy ways you can make sure you don’t go overboard when it comes to Christmas.
Here are 8 things you can start doing now to save money this Christmas.
Set Up A Christmas Bank Account
Having a completely separate bank account for your Christmas spending will help you keep in perspective how much money you’ve actually got to spend this Christmas. Start putting a set amount in each week or month, whenever you get paid. $20 a week from now until Christmas will add up to $500 and $50 a week will leave you with $1250. That’s nothing to sniff at!
Draw Up A Gift List
No, not for you! Make a list of everyone you’re planning to buy presents for this year. Some people may be getting more than one gift so make sure you note a number of gifts next to each person.
Set A Budget For Each Person
Once you’ve got your list, set a budget per person and write some ideas down for each one. Don’t spend $100 on your second cousin’s auntie’s dog. It’s really NOT necessary. Prioritise your gift giving to immediate family and set aside a smaller budget for any extended family.
You could also decide just to do gifts for kids in your family or do a Secret Santa for all the adults to save money, that way everyone still gets something.
Start Buying Presents Now
Keep your gift list that you’ve created on your phone or in your purse/wallet. When you’re at the shops, check the list and see if anything is currently on offer that you’ve earmarked for a gift. You can do this between now and December.
Try and tick off at least one or two presents each month (or more depending how many people you’re buying for!), so by the time December rolls around you won’t have to worry about hitting the shops with the rest of the crowds.
Collect Points On Your Loyalty Cards
If you have loyalty cards which award points when you spend money, for example Flybuys or Myer One, instead of cashing in your points for vouchers, start saving them up. Between now and Christmas you can rack up some decent points (on your normal shopping only!) and when it comes to December, convert your points into money off vouchers. Put these towards your Christmas grocery shop or present shopping as needed.
Stock Up On Christmas Pantry Staples
If you do a lot of baking or food preparation for Christmas, take a look at what pantry items could be bought in advance. Add just one extra item that you’ll need in December to your weekly shop from now and by the time you get to Christmas you may not need to buy much more. Of course this will depend on the ingredients and your available storage space but it’s an easy way to buy what you need without it hitting your pocket all in one shot.
Watch Out For Discount Codes & Sales
In the next few months, before you make any gift purchases, do a quick online search to compare prices across stores and check for discount codes or special offers. Getting 25% off that $100 purchase means another $25 you can put towards something else.
Sell Unwanted Items
If you’ve got things lying around the house taking up space, the last thing you need is more stuff this Christmas! Have a clear out and anything that’s in good condition can be sold on Gumtree, EBay or your local buy and sell groups on Facebook. This clears out space in your home and puts some extra cash in your pocket which can go into your Christmas budget.
Do you need help with your monthly budgeting? At LUDA Financial Solutions, our financial advisor in Joondalup can help you with your cash flow management to make sure you aren’t going unnecessarily overboard when it comes to your spending. Make an appointment with us online or call us on 08 9300 2553.