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Written by Jana Angeles

Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year for some people, if not planned properly. With guests coming over, presents to buy and a lot of planning involved, the last thing you want to do is blow out every single cent in your bank account for this year’s holidays. Managing your finances this Christmas may sound like a boring subject, but it will help you avoid living life frugally once January comes around. Here are some top tips below to help manage your spending this Christmas time.

Put aside budget for presents

Set a certain amount for gifts and only stick to that spending budget. You may want to please your kids and other family members when it comes to the gifts, but we often lose sight on the meaning of Christmas because of society’s view on the necessity of Christmas shopping. There is a simple mantra all must follow eventually: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

Other budget tips: 

  • Do a deep clean and chuck out any items or clothing you don’t need anymore. If some of them are still in good condition, consider selling them online or go to stores which allow you to swap with other items you could give to a loved one. 
  • Leave your credit card at home and only use your debit. It’s much easier to max out a credit card because you immediately assume that you can pay it all back later. Avoid the trap at all costs. 
  • Be smart when it comes to gifts. Does your relative really need that Pandora bracelet? If not, consider something that they will use and offers practicality.  

 Shop around for the best deals

With access to the internet, this is especially handy for those preparing meals this Christmas. You don’t have to be loyal to just one supermarket store this time. Look at the online catalogues available in each and shop where you can get the best deals on certain items. This is applicable for gifts too. If you hate going in and out of the stores, you can purchase gifts you need at the comfort of your own home when you online shop.

Other tips on how to grab the best deals: 

  • Take advantage of Black Friday sales in November. This is a great opportunity for you to save money and get great discounts on exclusive items. 
  • Purchase second-hand versions of high-priced items. If your child is starting high school/uni next year and needs a new laptop, you can get refurbished ones for a slightly cheaper price. Normally refurbished ones, depending on model and year are discounted from their normal retail price by up to 30%. 
  • Only cook enough for your family and friends. Measure out how much food you actually need during the festive season and only cook enough to avoid having tons of leftovers. This will help you save money and also avoid chucking out extra food after the holiday season. 

 Participate in cheap family activities

Organising a getaway or travelling overseas during Christmas is one of the most memorable ways you could spend time with your loved ones and an opportunity to make heartwarming memories. However, the expenses that come with travelling interstate or overseas can be a bit extreme. Remember that you aren’t obligated to travel every year if you bank cannot afford it. There are cheaper alternatives to spend Christmas with your family without spending thousands of dollars to make memories. 

 Activities to consider: 

  • Have a family BBQ. This is a great way to be outdoors and catch up with family and friends. It will allow the kids to play outside and gives you the opportunity to cook cheaply with sausages, salads and snacks to share around. 
  • Have a city adventure and leave the car at home. Use public transport and have a fun day out with the family by seeing the Christmas decorations in the city.  
  • Road trip it to the beach. Spend the day with loved ones and soak up the warm sun for the day. Pack some light food such as sandwiches and fruit to keep the hunger at bay. 

Christmas isn’t about spending the last dollar you have in the bank account. It’s encouraged that all families think carefully when it comes to their own finances during the festive season. Remember not to spend more than you can afford and be thoughtful when it comes to each gift you purchase. Learn to have willpower and trust that you are doing the right thing by yourself during the busiest time of the year

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