How to Survive Christmas 2018

The festive season is almost upon us! We’re sure you’ve seen the Christmas trees and decorations slowly creeping across the floors of Big W, Kmart or Target. Getting in early seems to be this years Christmas trend – and it’s not a terrible idea. Planning ahead is the best way to save money and stress over the coming months.

Preparation is half the battle when it comes to surviving Christmas. That’s why we’ve collated an essential guide to getting through the Christmas season and coming out the other side with your bank balance intact.

Make a game plan

A blank page is scary to look at – so put something on it! Make an executive move and be the first one to start the dreaded Christmas chat with the family. Find out who’s hosting, who is providing what, designate roles to spread the weight evenly and have a discussion if you’d like to implement a new gift exchange system (Find gift ideas on a budget here).

Organise a diary and record the next eight weeks to keep track of where you’ll be spreading your time and resources. This includes all upcoming school events, work parties, family gatherings, when you want to do the big Christmas food shop, etc. Once you have a clear idea of the bones of the plan, you can then start to put together a budget.

Lists and Budgets are your new BFFs

Replace credit with cash this Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in the magic and glamour of Christmas spending – so putting together a budget (and sticking to it) is an essential tool to get you through the busy spending season. Cash flow planning is probably one of the most important budgets you can do in the lead up to Christmas – it’ll determine how much you can locate to Christmas spending each week – and keep you from tapping that Paypass without the cash to back you up.

Write a list of all the people you need to buy for, the food you’ll be providing, Christmas decorations, any outings you’ll be attending and how much you want to approximately spend on each. Set limits. Be honest with your list and yourself – take into account money spent on Uber or taxi’s and any extra splurges you might make over the next two months. This will help you to realistically manage your money.

Try Beyond Bank’s useful Christmas budget tool here.

Keep an eye out for sales and online delivery estimates

While Australia doesn’t celebrate thanksgiving, if you’re wanting to buy presents online for your friends or family, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are happening on the 23rd and 26th November this year. These sales can help you save big – and you’ll still have time to receive the presents in the mail.

With the extra time you’ll have the ability to really think about unique gifts without the pressures of a time constraint. Buying gifts on December 24th because you left it too late to order online can limit the type of gifts you want to buy if everything has sold out.

Designate shopping days

Remember that diary and calendar we mentioned? Put a big X on the day you plan to get certain Christmas shopping done. This means marking off a gift-buying day; a food-buying day; a decoration-buying day. It’ll give you time to organise someone to take care of the kids so you can shop quickly and hassle-free. Write lists of the things you need before you go. It’s also a good idea to pick a time or day that’s not busy, or a shopping centre that is quieter than others – you will be able to avoid the bigger crowds and move without the stress of hundreds of other bustling shoppers.

Remember to look after yourself

While Christmas is a joyous occasion, it is also a stressful one. Maintaining a healthy routine, exercising regularly, eating well and giving yourself a break when you need, works wonders when you’re stressed. Remember, it’s OK to say no to going to events you don’t want to attend or plans that will be put your budget in the red. Santa Claus needs some time out, too.

If you need to talk to someone about coping with financial stress, free financial counselors are available to talk on the National Debt Hotline (1800 007 007).

At Select, we make finance simple. Give us a call on (08) 9417 3399 to speak with one of our brokers.