Christmas is a special time of year, but it can place huge demands on your finances. Here are some practical tips from local mother-of-three, and owner of Frangipani Finance Joanne Foltman who shares her financial savvy to help you survive the silly season.
1. Make a list and check it twice. Having a list will help you keep on track and plan your spending.
2. Do a clean-up and sell some stuff you don’t use anymore to get a little bit of extra cash.
3. Talk to your relatives and consider buying presents for kids only – none for the adults. Or do a Kris Kringle for the adults with a low $ limit for a bit of fun.
4. Don’t spend a lot of money on cards, make your own. Get crafty, the kids can create something wonderful. Kmart sell card and paper really cheaply that you can turn into beautiful, personalised cards.
5. Be organised. Starting your shopping earlier means you can shop around and not do the last-minute rush a few days before Christmas Day. Buying gifts throughout the year also helps with your December budget.
6. Shop around and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or for a store to price match. Make it your mission to not pay full price for a single item this year – buy everything on sale!
7. Shop at odd hours. Westfield is super stressful in busy times, and you may buy things on impulse just to get out of there. Go when it’s quiet and you have time to shop around for the best deal.
8. If you buy online, check if you can pick up instore. Save on postage and more importantly, the temptation to buy more to qualify for free shipping.
9. Don’t buy presents for yourselves. If you really like to receive something on Christmas day, gift yourself a pretend voucher that you make, then buy yourself something in the January sales and next month’s budget.
10. Share the catering for Christmas day. In our family, the host takes responsibility for the menu then delegates a list of what each family needs to bring, e.g. wine, dessert, nibbles, ham, etc. We work it so everyone is spending a similar amount of money and the host isn’t left with a huge bill.
11. Don’t overbuy on produce, buy only what you need. It’s easy to get carried away and buy too much food that ends up getting thrown out. My fresh food philosophy is the most expensive groceries are the ones you throw out.
12. Plan for next Christmas. Work out a savings plan and put some money away into a separate account each week. $20 per week turns into $1000 by Christmas…
Just remember tis the season to be jolly, enjoy it. Merry Christmas from Frangipani Finance.