Christmas Spending and Money Management – Some Valuable Tips to Help Keep You Out of the Debt Trap this Christmas
By Chris Giameos, Sue Raw, Tamara Scutcheon (3 Min read)
Christmas is meant to be a time of good cheer, but good cheer can soon turn to despair when faced with post-Christmas debt and bills that can’t be paid.
Some of our team at Johnson Grocke put their heads together to come up with ways of avoiding the post-Christmas debt blues, beginning by addressing the following question;
When is the right time to start planning for Christmas and is there a strategy?
October it is according to Chris Giameos, Finance Administrator from our Corporate Services Team and mother of 3 children. Chris explains she would start to ask her children or friends indirectly what they might want and writes a secret list. Then she waits for November Sales and Specials on Toys and clothes to start her shopping tour.
Sue Raw, Corporate Services Manager and also mother of three, seconds that thought of trying to save money when it is possible and states “never pay the full price unless you can’t live without the item” and laughs. Even browsing through the advertisements in your physical and virtual mail inbox and planning your shopping trip accordingly is very helpful.
Saving money well before Christmas pays dividends!
Tamara Scutcheon, Mortgage and Finance Advisor recommends starting to save money before Christmas. That way you can still be liquid throughout December and January when shopping expenses can quickly exceed your disposable income. You could get a piggy bank or a money box to collect coins throughout the year or open a special bank account. That way it will be easier to monitor the budget and expense throughout the Christmas shopping process.
Besides the ‘old school’ approach of a piggy bank, a ‘new school’ way could be to buy a pre-paid visa card, put the assigned budget on it and monitor the expenses through the account. Or you could also open a new bank account and use it for your Christmas shopping. That way you will definitely be able to monitor your expenses through your bank app on your mobile phone.
And talking about Apps – there are many, useful apps, that will facilitate your money management. These budgeting apps just link to your bank account and split your expenses into your individually defined categories. Just have a look and see which one appeals to you.
Whichever option you choose, remember: that is all you can spend. No more!
Write your budget down!
It’s very important to set a budget for gifts and food. Sit down with your partner and decide how much the Christmas celebrations including gifts, decorations, food, and drinks will cost you.
Of course, you will get your children gifts. But do you really need to get gifts for every other relative, friend, and acquaintance? How about grouping your beloved ones into circles and doing a Kris Kringle or Secret Santa for an aligned budget instead? This way everyone gets a gift and the stress of finding gifts is reduced and your budget relieved. It works at your job, doesn’t it? So why not use it for your private life as well? Note it down on your physical list or even better: use your Notes app on your smartphone and make one or more shopping list(s) for Christmas gifts, food, beverages etc. with aligned budgets.
Don’t know what gifts to get?
Thankfully technology will be able to make your life easier again. Nicole, Marketing and Communications Coordinator says, she personally loves Etsy and Pinterest or even Groupon because there are so many great ideas for each occasion. You will find Christmas gifts ideas sorted in categories, such as: Friends, Kids, Grandparents, Co-workers, Moms etc. How clever! You could buy the goods or just get inspired for your DIY Xmas-Workshop at home.
Everyone agreed, that lots of people prefer experiences and spending quality time together instead of materialistic Christmas gifts. Red balloon might be a good place to start looking. Or be creative yourself. You know best what a fun, relaxing or romantic day out would mean to both your loved ones and you.
If you don’t like going shopping and would rather buy everything online, hurry up! This week might be your last call when it comes to getting everything delivered just in time for Christmas. Besides ordering gifts from online shops or other e-commerce based platforms, you could also have a look at the Facebook Marketplace, that offers a range of goods from 2 – 100km away from you.
Most importantly: Spend time, not Money! Take a nice stroll through the Christmas markets and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. Even if you are on a tight budget this year, don’t worry - Christmas can’t be stolen!
To embrace the Christmas Spirit, let’s end this article with a meaningful quote by Joel Osteen: “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, your attention, your love, and concern.”
Happy Christmas everyone from the Team at Johnson Grocke :)