Christmas Budget

14 December 2016
Retailers love Christmas because there are two things they can rely on; they know people will over-spend on gifts and food, and there will be much impulse buying. So the question is how to avoid spending so much money for one festive season that it is going to take nearly all of 2017 to recover our financial position.
 
The first thing to do is to sit down and work out a budget for the Christmas spend-up – and the limit of your credit card is not the budget amount. Work out how much you will need for food and wine, and how much can be spent on presents. Don’t forget the cost of visitors to your place, or the cost of travelling to visit others over the holiday period. As regards food, tradition is great but do you really need a turkey when a couple of chickens will do just as well. Also do you need a ham that is so big you will be sick of it when you are still taking slices off it in the middle of January.
 
Buying presents can be a bit tricky because you don’t want to look mean, but trying to impress can be disastrous. If you buy presents for a family (your own, a sister’s or brother’s) what about one good present for the family rather than several good presents for each family member. This could prove to be a saving. Maybe arranging a “secret Santa” with family and friends would allow for the purchase of one good present, rather than several “less good” (but overall more costly) presents.
 
It’s a bit late for this Christmas, but a good idea may be to make out a Christmas gift list early in the new year and buy as specials appear on the market during the year. This spreads the spending over the full year without straining the finances. There may be some last minute purchases required, but the bulk of the spending will have been done.
 
When setting your budget, plan for affordability – not desirability. The mortgage still has to be paid, as well as the rates, insurance and all those other regular weekly/fortnightly/monthly payments. There is no point in having a great holiday period and then spending several months agonising over where the money is going to come from to pay off the credit card.
 
When you have set your budget, stick to it! This point cannot be over-emphasised. If you over spend in one area, cut back spending in another. Stay within the budget you set based on affordability.
 
Finally avoid the impulse buy. These usually turn out to be costly and not what you needed. Differentiate between “I really need” and “I just    want”.
 

Published In Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

Trish Marsden - who has written 96 posts

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