How to avoid the Christmas debt hangover

How to avoid the Christmas debt hangover

Does your New Year usually start with a resolution to pay off all the debt you racked up during the Christmas shopping season? If so, you’re not alone.

Christmas is a very expensive time, with feasting, vacations, and presents to buy.

As with most financial matters, the key to avoiding Christmas debt is to plan ahead, but even now there are things you can do to have a Merry Christmas without the money hangover. Below, we list some of the best.

1. Make a Budget

It will be much easier to make good decisions if you make a budget for Christmas. In general, more detail is better but you will need to leave some flexibility. Allocate different budgets for your children, spouse, and extended family. Don’t forget to include all the major categories such as decorations, food, party supplies, as well as gifts, as these can really get away from you.

2. Agree To Limit Presents

Now is the time to talk about presents with your friends and family. Most people are facing the same Christmas money crunch so they are probably interested in ways to spend less on gifts too. Not to mention avoiding the shopping headaches. Agree with friends that you won't exchange gifts this year. You could also set a price limit for family presents, especially for adults. Another option is to buy presents for children only, or set up a “Secret Santa” system where everyone in a group only purchases a present for one person who is selected in a hat draw.

3. Share the Christmas Day Burden

Christmas is supposed to be fun, not a nightmare for the person hosting. If you are hosting Christmas this year, plan your menu with seasonal produce which tends to be cheaper and fresher. Buy in bulk and freeze Christmas staples before the predictable Christmas price spike.

Also share the load by asking guests to bring or make something, so that you aren't stuck with all the work and a big food bill. Most people will bring their best dish, so the quality of the meal will be enhanced. And don't over cater for Christmas. Nothing smells worse than a wheelie bin full of uneaten Christmas prawns. No matter how much you are looking forward to the meal, there is only so much you can eat especially on a hot summer day. There is a handy portion planner  to help you get it right. Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website.
 
4. Christmas Gift Savings

Save money on gifts with these simple techniques to get cheap presents that will still be greatly appreciated.

  • Give an edible gift - If you're good in the kitchen, why not make something to give and create a delicious, personal gift.
  • Create a coupon - massages, babysitting, or other services that can be redeemed are a great gift that costs nothing.
  • DIY gifts – You can make a personalised gift for very little money if you take the time. The list of ideas online is almost endless and presents like flavoured olive oils or bath bombs are easy to make.

5. Get on Gumtree

Don’t just buy presents online, make room for them! Every year you get an influx of new presents to clutter your house, so why not get rid of unwanted items in preparation? If you sell some unused stuff on an auction site, you will raise money to fund your present buying and your house will thank you for it.

6. Plan for next Christmas

Once this Christmas is done and dusted you should start planning ahead for next year. Make that your New Year’s resolution!

Start saving now and contribute a small amount to it every payday. Saving $20 per week will add up to over $1,000 in a year's time. 

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