With our desks drenched in tinsel and Secret Santa on his way, there’s a fun festive buzz floating around the office here at Walker Hill. But as Christmas creeps closer and consequently our expenses rise, we’re all too aware of the hole slowly burning in our wallets … know the feeling?
One minute it’s pay day, the next you’ve spent your entire pay check on Christmas tree decorations, unnecessary party food and gifts for your second-cousins who you’ve been forced to visit this weekend (thanks for the reminder mum). So we’ve come up with 10 ways to stay financially savvy during the holidays, so you can spend less time counting pennies and more time celebrating.
There’s a reason this tip goes first – because it’s the first thing you need to do! Planning is a crucial part of any money-saving regime. Create a schedule including all activities you organise, then write a detailed list of items you need to buy and where the income will come from. You’re going to find it much easier to avoid those ‘card declined’ moments if you’ve done your planning.
Now you’ve ticked off the planning step, you’re at a good point to start budgeting. Take a look at each item on your list and highlight areas you can save a dollar or two. If a big group of you are heading out for dinner, why not ride-share? Or if you have a planned week full of expensive events decide on a lower grocery budget for that period. Which brings me onto my next tip …
We love to splurge a little during the holidays, but not everything has to be a bank breaker. Just because it’s Christmas it doesn’t necessarily mean your weekly shopping trips need to be double the price. Try sticking to your regular routines as much as possible and save money for upcoming planned events. Remember every little helps!
This is one a lot of people fail on, but if you’re in a habit of putting a percentage of your wage into a savings account then this is something you should continue to practice. If you know your budget can’t stretch far enough to put the full percentage away then decrease the amount you save – but don’t totally miss a transfer payment. You will thank yourself for sticking to your financial goals later.
As much as we all love giving and receiving gifts, it can be overwhelming when you realise how many people you need to buy for. However there are a few ways to decrease your spendings when it comes to buying Christmas presents. If you decide to buy online then ordering in bulk can considerably decrease the price, particularly with delivery cost. You can also save by exercising your DIY skills and getting creative with your gifts, for example fashion your own hamper instead of buying one pre-made, or if your grandma loves baking create a recipe book full of dishes you think she would love.
It’s likely you’ll be at home more than usual during the holidays so it’s always a shock to receive an outrageous electricity bill come January. Get into a habit of turning off your appliances when you aren’t using them, such as the TV or computer, and turn off the lights you aren’t using in the house to avoid any unnecessary heavy bills.
You work hard throughout the year so you deserve let you hair down once in awhile, but if you’re someone who dreads checking their bank account the morning after a night out then this tip is for you. Think of a realistic amount you’re likely to spend and get a daily limit put on your bank card. It might be irritating at the time, but this way you won’t be poor for the rest of the holidays!
It’s punishing when money stands in your way of seeing family and friends, particularly during the Christmas holidays. So if you’re finding it hard to stretch your social budget, why not invite everyone over for a night in instead? All you’ll need is a few fun games (twister and charades are essentials), some classic Christmas movies and a choice of refreshments – enjoy!
If you do decide to have that unforgettable night in, it’s likely you’ll be left with a fridge full of untouched food – do NOT throw it out! Instead, save time and money by using those leftovers for future meals or other social event (so long as it’s still edible of course). In fact, it’s a good idea to use leftover ingredients to make extra batches of food and store them in the freezer to decrease food waste.
And finally, just when you think you’ve made is through the holidays avoiding any debt, the sales arrive. Honestly, if you can avoid heading to the sales all together it would be best, but if temptation is just too hard to refuse then it’s a good idea to create a list of items you absolutely need and stick to it.