Below are some simple tips that you can follow to avoid financial stress this festive season:
1. Set yourself a budget
The first step to any financial plan is to set yourself a budget. How much can you afford to spend over the next 2 months, taking in to account any planned annual leave (or unpaid leave!) and any other surprising costs that may come up during this time. The ASIC website has a really easy to use and free budget planner available to assist you in budget planning .
2. Cut down on that Christmas gift list
Whilst treating those you love to the perfect gift at Christmas can be one of the many highlights of the festive season, it can become a costly (and time consuming) process. Simple ideas for reducing the cost, or number of gifts, is to; a) Have honest discussions with those around you, do they really want a gift? Or perhaps just a catch up over a meal will be enough to show how much you care? b) Shop online! So many bargains can be found on auction websites such as Ebay or a daily deal website such as Catch of day. c) Organise a ‘Secret Santa’ gift roster for a group of friends or family. This was you’re only spending one amount on someone you care for, at the same time ensuring everyone gets a gift (and will likely get the one gift they want rather than several they don’t)
3. Consolidate debts to free up cash flow
Credit cards and personal loans will generally have a higher interest rate than your standard home loan. If you find yourself contributing several large amounts each month as you try to reduce your credit card balances, you can look to consolidate these debts into your home loan. At a reduced interest rate, this will reduce your monthly repayments and free up cash flow. Less interest paid = more cash savings in your pocket at the end of each year.
4. Plan Ahead
Whilst this is easier said than done, planning ahead for the Festive Season can save you $$$ in the long run. Keeping an eye out for specials on long store food items, as well as checking out all toy and gift catalogues for specials throughout the year will definitely leave you with more money in your pocket when December rolls around. Another option available is to open a high interest savings account, and make small contributions throughout the year. Its never too early to start planning for the future.