Budget Advice To Stay Financially Afloat This Christmas Season
Christmas time usually sees us spending a bit more than we usually would, but we shouldn’t let it get out of hand. Planning for the Christmas season and drawing up a budget will most definitely help. There are many ways to stay clear of debt and still have a great festive season.
Here are some guidelines you could follow to make sure you have financial control:
Trust your budget and stick to it:
There is a misperception that a Christmas budget will take away the good things, but this is not true. Budgeting will help keep track of exactly what you did with your money and why. It is a guide to help you spend wisely and with purpose. A Christmas budged should contain all your expenses with priority given to the most important ones. You should then look at the budget and see if you can save on any of the items, like handmade gifts, cards or a homemade meal rather than going out for dinner. Buying a cooler bag and filling it with snacks and 2lt cool drinks will save you a lot of money when going out to the beach. Buying food in your own town before leaving on holiday will also save you money. It is a well-known fact that food stores in holiday towns increase prices over holidays.
Don’t be pressured into buying gifts:
Parents feel bad knowing that their kids want a specific make and model of something and don’t want to let the kids know that they can not actually afford the item. Playing open cards with your family will definitely go a long way. Most kids are more understanding than what we give them credit for. Explain the budgeting process to the kids and tell them that the budget allows for X amount to be spent on gifts. Explain to them that going on holiday costs a lot and therefore you must budget. Include the kids in the shopping trips, let them buy according to the budget. Not only will this educate them, but it will be fun.
The worst mistake most people make is opening accounts to pay for gifts. Most South African consumers start falling into a debt trap in January because of decisions they made in December. Keeping up with the Jones’s also does not help. Stick to the principle of, if you can not afford it then don’t buy it.
In cases where you do decide to buy on credit, include the monthly repayment on a budget for the next six months. Keep in mind that food and fuel prices will increase due to our countries Junk Status . If you see that you can afford it, then go ahead. If not, rethink your options. Debt stress is not a comfortable feeling and sometimes totally unnecessary and avoidable.
Make gifts and decorations:
Making Christmas decorations and gifts could be great fun for the whole family. There a plenty of websites on Google which will show you how to do this. This method will save you a lot of money While keeping everyone busy and happy. Be sure to pack all the decorations and the tree away for next Christmas!
Christmas is a time to be happy. A time where we spend time with friends and family. Having to stress about how to pay the bills next year should not have to be part of it. Budgeting will assist you in making good financial decisions and take away the debt stress burden in the new year.