Its hard to believe but we are only weeks away from Christmas. The “Silly Season” that all too often finds unprepared revelers deep in debt at the commencement of the new year. If you are one of these people who leaves Christmas shopping to the last minute and buys presents “emotionally” rather than “financially” – this article is for you.
Thanks to the efforts of the Marketing Departments of retailers, Christmas has become a spending holiday rather than an opportunity to take time off work, spend it with family and friends and reflect on the “true meaning” of this holiday.
If you do not wish to fall victim to unintended Christmas debt, consider the following:
Set a realistic budget for Christmas
If you have not done so as yet, it will be very helpful to prevent out-of-control spending during the holiday season, to make a list of the presents and other expenditure you anticipate to incur over the next 6 -8 weeks. Once this list is in place, compare it to the money that you have and would like to allocate to the seasonal celebrations.
Borrowing for Christmas is not the answer
The emphasis above is on the word “have”. It is never a good idea, financially speaking, to borrow for a holiday or for a holiday experience. Therefore while you may wish to spend $100 per relative/friend on Christmas presents, reality may dictate that all you can afford is $10 per person. Anyone who decides to borrow the difference, is unfortunately making a financially irresponsible decision which may cost them dearly in the new year. After all Christmas was never meant to be about the money you have or spend. You can choose to enjoy the holiday and remain financially responsible at the same time.
Choose affordable activities
All around Australia there are numerous free or very affordable family activities over the holiday season. Individuals with a limited budget need to focus on such activities and not fall prey to well advertised but unaffordable events.
Do not fall victim to peer pressure
It can be difficult to avoid spending more than you can afford when you know that your family and friends usually spend a significant amount on your presents. Why not talk to the people in your life and suggest that instead of everyone incurring huge expenses during the holiday season, you set a limit on present value. This arrangement can work really well by taking the pressure off everyone.
Setting the right example for your children
Nothing is more important than teaching financial responsibility to your children. Families who fail to do this can find that their children fall into irresponsible spending habits. I is great for children of any age to see that their parents budget for large items of expenditure and do not borrow for presents or holidays. Make sure that financial responsibility is taught in the family and you are leading by example.
You can enjoy the Christmas Holidays without finding yourself financially “snowed under” in 2017.