Christmas can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to mean going into debt. Follow these 6 steps on how to have a debt free Christmas below and make your way through the Christmas season with your finances intact.
Make a list
Before you go any further, make a list of everyone you think you need to buy for, then scrutinise that list and decide if you really need to by for absolutely everyone. It might sound harsh, but the reality is you only have so much time and money, it’s just not possible to buy for absolutely everyone, and don’t let yourself feel guilty about that. There is always the option of a baked gift or a Christmas card with a handwritten note when you feel like you should give something.
Start a Christmas fund
This is something you can do straight after Christmas ready for next year. Decide on an amount of money that you need to cover Christmas, including gifts, food and any extras, and divide that amount by the number of weeks until Christmas.
Put this amount aside weekly into a bank account, and by the time Christmas rolls around you will have a Christmas fund ready to go.
Brainstorm gift ideas
Go back to your Christmas gift list and start to think about what you might buy for each person. It’s also really helpful to put budget on each individual gift, and it doesn’t have to be the same amount for each person. It’s so easy to get carried away if you don’t limit how much you will spend on each gift.
Be honest with others
If you can’t afford to buy certain people gifts then don’t be afraid to be honest. We had a family discussion a few years back and decided on not buying Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews. Not only does it get expensive, but it also limits the amount of toys coming into the house. It makes it so much easier when everyone is on the same page with gifts. Christmas is also much more enjoyable now that we can focus more on time with family and less on rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect gift.
Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read
When it comes to your own children, a great way to keep within budget is to focus on only buying each child four gifts. Make one of those gifts something they want and have been asking for; something they need, like a new school bag or something for their bedroom; something to wear, and finally something to read.
Save Flybuys and Woolworths Rewards points
If you shop at Coles or Woolworths and have a Flybuys or Woolworths Rewards card, be sure to use it every time you shop, and save those points for a big Christmas grocery shop. Keep an eye out for bonus offers during the year which will boost your points balance even more. If you do this for an entire year, you will be sure to have at least a few hundred dollar by Christmas.