All I want for Christmas… is to survive it debt free

01 Nov 2017

By Shadforth Financial Group

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season. Unfortunately this can be bad news for your finances. After a year of careful spending don’t let Christmas blow your budget. Follow these tips and emerge in the New Year without the financial hangover.

Set a budget

Take some time out to review your current finances and then plan ahead. Determine how much you can realistically afford to spend without getting into the red. Remember to include entertainment as well as gifts – and even the small things that come with the season like cards, stamps, decorations, food and travel. Then make a list of everyone you plan on giving a gift to and decide how much you want to spend on each person. You may need to cut some corners along the way to help meet the budget.

Avoid credit

It’s easy to get carried away when shopping and credit cards make it easy to not worry about how much you’re spending. That is, until your statement turns up in January. Don’t spend the first few months of the new year paying off debt. If a credit card is too tempting, leave it at home and head to the shops with your debit card only. If you must use your credit card, look for the best rewards or discounts that are available through your card provider.

Start early

Do you ever see a present and think it would be great for a loved one, but then don’t buy it because Christmas is too far away? Buying early means you can take advantage of sales and avoid the pressure of buying the wrong – and usually more expensive – gift simply because you’ve run out of time. Shopping all year for Christmas presents also lets you avoid blowing the budget in the last month of the year.

Look for savings and incentives

Try to shop online first as you’re less likely to impulse shop and can easily compare prices across various websites. There are plenty of online retailers that offer savings across a number of product categories such as fashion, skincare, makeup, fragrances, books and electrical appliances. You can also find discounts through online community classifieds, eBay and daily deal websites.

Remember who you’re shopping for

When you’re shopping for family and friends, it’s very easy to also find things which will be just perfect for you. This is a sure way to break your budget. If you really want to treat yourself, the Boxing Day sales are a great time to pick up a bargain.

Save early

Get off the overspending merry-go-round by saving early for next year. As soon as the holiday season is over, determine next year’s Christmas budget and set up automatic direct debits into a dedicated Christmas savings account. You’ll be all set by the time the department stores bring out their tinsel again!

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