According to research from FINDER.COM Australians are set to spend $25 billion collectively on Christmas this year. This equates to $1,325 per person. With this much money being spent over one month of the year, it’s no surprise that many Australians start the New Year in debt. Here are some tips to help you stay in control of your finances in the lead up to Christmas:
Have a plan
Start by making a list of what you need to purchase this Christmas. Include everything from presents, decorations, food, drink and entertainment, to travel expenses. From there you can set a realistic budget and stick to it.
Track your spending
A budget is meaningless unless you monitor your spending. This doesn’t have to be time consuming, there are a number of apps you can use to stay on track. BeApt is one that allows you to monitor all your various accounts and cards in real-time on your phone or online, so you can stay on top of your Christmas expenses in one place, 24/7.
Beware of your credit card
Credit cards can be a great way of paying for items and earning reward points, but only if you have the money to pay it back. Don’t be tempted by the convenience of using your credit card or a buy now, pay later service, for items you can’t afford. If you do, you may find yourself starting the New Year with debt that will last well into 2019.
Get in early and save
It’s easy to overspend if you don’t leave enough time to shop around for the best price, or find an alternative gift when something costs more than you expected. Give yourself plenty of time to shop before the last minute Christmas rush, do your research before you hit the stores and know what you can expect to pay. If you have seen your item cheaper online or in another store, be sure to ask to the retailer if they price match, this will save you money or a trip to another store.
Shop online and take advantage of the sales
Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all traditionally US retail shopping sprees, but in recent years they have risen in the Australian market. If you know what you’re after, these sales can bring some great savings. But don’t fall into the trap of buying because the item is cheap, just stick to what you need.
Plan and save for your holiday in advance
Christmas is great time for a holiday. If you are planning a trip at this time of year, make sure you prepare ahead and save throughout the year. Shop around for holiday deals early on to avoid peak season price increases. If you’re driving, take advantage of the websites and apps that give you the cheapest fuel prices in your area.
Remember, the holiday season is about spending quality time with your family and friends, so make the most of your Christmas break by staying in control of your finances and start the New Year without a financial hangover.
General Advice warning
The information provided in this blog does not constitute ﬁnancial product advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, ﬁnancial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for speciﬁc professional advice. Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) recommends that you obtain professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances.