Merry Debt Free Christmas

As if the jolly festive season isn’t stressful enough, along comes the credit card bill in February to knock you back into reality! Happy New Year!

Here’s a few easy tips to help you get through the silly season without a budget blowout & living on rice for the next few months!

Write your list & check it twice

Create a list of people you purchased gifts for the previous year, in order of priority & approximately how much you spent. Christmas is the time of giving… but do we give too much? Is there anyone that no longer needs a gift or can you combine gifts as a “family” present? Once you have an idea of who you need to purchase for and the dollar amount associated with that purchase, sum up your Christmas budget and divide the total by the number of pay cycles you have until Christmas. E.g., Expense total $2,500 / 17 pays til xmas = $147. Start putting away your spending money now, cash envelopes are brilliant as you can see your cash growing but if this is a little too tempting, you can create an online savings account for the funds to be set aside. Remember to factor in the extra spending on food and beverages at this time of the year!

Add a little excitement!

Family gift giving games and secret Santa can also reduce the amount of gifts needing to be purchased. Contact your family members and ask if this can be incorporated into the day so you only need to purchase one larger present per adult instead of lots of smaller token gifts. This not only reduces expenses but means everyone is getting higher quality over quantity presents.

Delegate, delegate, delegate!

Grandparents and extended family often struggle with gift ideas, you can do yourself and them a huge favour by giving them some inspiration. Giving others gift ideas that are complementary to your purchases or even take a few big-ticket items off your list. You can also ask a few family members all to chip in for a larger present for the children, this helps everyone have an easier Christmas!

Never pay full price!

Hit those discount shopping sites for fun experiences! You can purchase gifts such as Indoor rock climbing, go karting, theme park entry & movie tickets all at a discounted price for family and friends! These are a fantastic gift to give to your children who already have rooms full of toys and you get to share a wonderful family experience together. Sites like Scoopon and Groupon are brilliant so keep an eye out during the year for these when they pop up!

Paid to shop… don’t mind if I do!

Reward cards/shopping sites are the biggest money saver and definitely my secret weapon! They all have the ability to “Bank for Christmas” with your points or dollars. If you organically let your points accumulate throughout the year without dipping into them, you can have a nice little nest egg to use toward your gift shopping! FairVine has an amazing reward program, FairRewards, where you can receive up to 2-15% of your online purchases back into your super account, boosting your balance and earning you money! You can find more information about the incentive here: https://community.fairvine.com.au/fairrewards-explained

Shopping the sneaky sales

Mid-year or EOFY sales can save a lot of money, but then you’re stuck hoarding and hiding presents for the next 6 months right?! No, you don’t have to. Large department store like Big W and Target can Lay-by your items for you to pick up at the end of the year and pay small amounts off! That means your Christmas is paid for and all you need to do is wrap and drink your champagne! 

Now is the perfect time to prepare for Christmas, but can you imagine how amazing next Christmas would be if you continue to put a little money aside each pay cycle? Just $50 a week into a high interest earning account (at 2%) will give you $2600 + $24 interest! But the real win is your Credit Card will not need to be touched and there will be no looming February Credit Card bill to contend with!

Author: Monica Jones is busy mum of 3 with an established RAW Treat business. She maintains an inspiring Instagram profile, WifeBOT77, that simplifies the abundance of information about finance and encourages woman to embrace financial literacy and gain control of their future.

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