Awesome tips to save some cash at Christmas time!
Every year it seems the presents get bigger and more expensive, and every year our wallets seem to get lighter and the credit card bills bigger. How can you have a merry Christmas but ensure your bank balance stays sober?
Getting through Christmas is almost a micro system of many of our Friday Financial Tips. They are common sense coupled with planning, and a wee bit of self-control.
The first and most obvious is budget.
Work out what you need to spend money on and then budget for it. Make a list (naughty and nice) and then add a value and a follow to it. You need to think about Christmas lunch and how many people (or dinner), all your nearest and dearest you have to buy pressies for (and how much they spent on you). And do not forget about the time you spend on holidays. We seem to spend more money doing nothing than when we are doing something!
Ok well it may be a bit late for this year, but start to save and budget early on. We are nearly at December; have you even thought about your Christmas budget? Do think about it for next year. Open a fee-free savings account and send your Christmas money to it every month and come December you will be all set to go, no credit cards needed!
Do something special with your money and in place of presents, give a charitable gift. The act of changing someone else’s life can have far more beneficial results than traditional gifts. You feel good, the receiver feels good, and the recipient of the charity has their life improved. Win, win, win. There are a huge number of charities out there but Oxfam has great possibilities, goats anyone? https://unwrapped.oxfam.org.au/
Everyone knows things are cheaper in January, yet we still buy all our presents in December. That 50-inch flat screen, Xbox, or whatever it may be will still be able to be purchased in January. Delay the gift by a week or two, stretch the pleasure by creating an IOU gift, and take the savings at the sales!
History tells us that gift cards are probably best avoided. Stores rely on people not spending the entire amount, or throwing them in a draw and forgetting about them, and we all know what happened with Dick Smith’s gift cards! Rather than a gift card how about your own time? Have your own personal gift cards; cook dinner for a week, wash the car, dinner out, or even letting the kids stay up late. Think creatively and avoid the store gift cards.
One of the best things about young kids is they don’t care whether you spent $100 or $10 on a present, generally they are more interested in the unwrapping and the box rather than the actual gift! So don’t spend big bucks when you don’t need to.
So you may have a budget but you may still need credit.
There are always deals around this time of year with large interest free periods, and 0% balance transfer offers. Have a look around and you may be able to nab a no-fee card with an interest free introductory period to get you through the silly season. Just make sure you pay it off. Canstar has some great information online here https://www.canstar.com.au/credit-cards/.
Talking about savings and Christmas it looks like all the bets are on interest rates rising very soon.
Many of the major players have just raised their fixed rates for home loans. With Mr Trump as President of the US, markets are looking at consecutive rate rises. Perhaps the best Christmas saving you could make, and the best present you could give yourself is locking in a fixed interest rate now.
The holiday season should be a time to enjoy yourself with friends and family but you can still make savings.
Make sure you make a list and “check it twice” and your list should be your budget for gifts, holidays, and entertainment. Also make sure you know what your current home loan interest rate is. That could be you biggest ever Christmas saving!