Finance Hacks for the Festive Season – Part 1

Posted by: TJL Accountants & Advisors | On: November 21, 2018

Christmas is just around the corner, and although this is a magical time of year (particularly when you live on the Mid North Coast of NSW) it is also one of the most expensive. However, you don’t need to be an accountant or financial planner to save money this Christmas. We’ve taken some tips from ASIC’s MoneySmart website and put together a 2-part guide to make sure you don’t break the bank this festive season.

Part 1 – Christmas gifts

Make a list and check it twice

Make a list of everyone you’re buying for (kids, teachers, even the work Kris Kringle). Write down what you want to buy and how much money you’re prepared to spend on each person. Head to the shops armed with this list and not only will you be more likely to stick to your budget, you’ll also be able to get in and out of there faster (because who wants to spend hours jostling with the crowds at this time of year?).

Track your spending

Keeping track of your festive spending is the best way to avoid going over your budget this Christmas, and there are a few apps that can make life so much easier.

MoneySmart’s TrackMySPEND app is a good one as it lets you nominate a spending limit for each of your Christmas expenses, and it will track your progress while you shop – ensuring you don’t go overboard buying all those last-minute and extra gifts. Other good apps to check out are Pocketbook and Santa’s Bag.

Be cluey about Christmas credit

If you don’t have the cash to pay for your Christmas goodies up front, you might be tempted to use your credit card or a buy now, pay later service such as Afterpay or Zip Pay. Although these are convenient ways to get the things you need straight away, that convenience can cost you dearly if you find yourself still paying off Christmas debt in the middle of 2019.

If you’re already on board with Afterpay or Zip Pay and are planning to use them for your Christmas purchases, make sure you know exactly how much your repayments will be and when they’ll fall due, so you don’t get hit with an unexpected debit on your account in a few months’ time.

Think outside the box 

There’s a lot of pressure to spend up big on gifts at this time of year, but pricey presents aren’t always the way to go. Discuss setting a spending limit with your loved ones to avoid budgets getting out of control, or opt to buy for kids only. If you still want to give to everyone in the family, adults might appreciate low-cost DIY vouchers – tasks like babysitting, picnics, homemade dinners or even housework are all minor gifts that can be much appreciated by the recipient!

Give to those less fortunate

Spread the Christmas cheer by giving to those who are doing it tough.

Red Cross and World Vision have gifts from as low as $10 that you can give on someone else’s behalf, and many other charities such as the Smith Family, Barnados and Oxfam run targeted gift drives at Christmas. And a great option to encourage little people to get into the spirit of giving is the Kmart Wishing Tree, which launched in Kmart’s Forster store in mid-November. Have the kids select a present they think a child their age would like and get them to help you wrap it, tag it and return it to the store – it’s a small gesture but one they will remember in the years to come.

 

Part 2 of our Christmas Spending Guide will appear on our blog shortly, so be sure to check it out for some tips from ASIC’s MoneySmart on how to cut down on your Christmas entertaining costs!

To find out more about how TJL can help manage your finances in the long term, call our Forster or Taree office today on (02) 6554 9511 or (02) 6552 3233.