Lifestyle

Cut Christmas stress by sticking to silly season budget

Home-made presents are often appreciated at Christmas.
Home-made presents are often appreciated at Christmas.

WHILE Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful when it comes to money.

AMP financial planner Duane Potter said with so many additional expenses to account for such as the cost of presents, Christmas food shopping and holiday outings, careful budgeting was essential.

There's no need to be a scrooge, but there are many simple tips to follow to ensure you enjoy the festive season without risking a financial hangover in the New Year.

Tips for controlling silly season spending:

 

1. Get everyone to bring a plate

Hosting Christmas lunch is expensive but you can spread the cost by asking everyone to bring a dish. Your family and friends won't mind being asked to bring a salad or dessert.

 

2. Be a savvy shopper

Set a budget for presents and stick to it. Instead of buying for everyone why not organise a "Secret Santa".

Also use catalogues and shop online to find the best deals.

Vouchers are a great gift idea because you can use them in the post-Christmas sales and get more bang for your buck.

Don't forget many toy shops offer no deposit lay-bys right up until Christmas.

 

3. Go easy on the credit

While credit cards are convenient, they can be addictive over the Christmas period and undo a well-planned budget.

Avoid buying gifts with credit, unless you are going to be able to pay off your card before interest is charged.

You don't want to be still paying off Christmas well into the New Year.

 

4. Start paying off your holiday now

If you're going away over the Christmas break, try to pay off your accommodation costs in instalments before you leave.

Make sure you holiday within your budget and avoid paying for expensive overseas travel on your credit card if you won't be able to pay it off quickly.

 

5. Bake it or make it

If you have a talent for craft or baking you can create inexpensive presents such as home-made fruit cakes, rocky road, jams and relishes.

If you can sew, knit or have some other skill, a personalised gift will be even more special.

 

6. Budget for New Year expenses

When doing your Christmas budget, don't forget to factor in some of the big expenses you'll be facing in the New Year.

If you've got children, be mindful that all those back to school costs are just around the corner.

You'll also have a new round of bills starting to roll in, such as rates, electricity and phone bills.

So with a little thought and planning now, it is possible to have a jolly festive season without blowing a hole in the budget.

Once the fun of Christmas is over and the summer holidays are a distant memory, you can then look forward to getting off to a flying financial start for next year.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  budget, christmas, credit card, editors picks, finance, gift, gifts




Ipswich man's $701,000 mortgage-killing win

Golden Casket

Winning lotto ticket purchased at Ipswich newsagency

Why the AWLQ wouldn’t comment on losing council contract

The Ipswich pound and rehoming centre will be run by RSPCA after September 30.

Animal Welfare League stays quiet on losing Ipswich contract

Is a serial tree poisoner at large in Ipswich?

TIMBER!: Tree loppers begin to remove six ornamental Ficus microcarpa trees at Queens Park in the interest of public safety.

Historic trees come tumbling down in Queens Park

Latest deals and offers

Ipswich people love heritage

'It's a great vote of confidence for a program that was launched in 1992 and has since provided thousands of property owners with heritage conservation'


What's on this week

GRAB A BARGAIN: The Cameron Park Market is held on the first Saturday of every month.

Five things to do in Ipswich

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Navy man Keller ready to marry a perfect stranger

Former Navy engineer Keller is a participant in season three of Married At First Sight.

Tattoos are just the surface of Married At First Sight groom.

Ozzy cheated with 5 women in 5 countries: Sharon

Sharon Osbourne claims her husband Ozzy has cheated on her

The Big Music Quiz gives The Block a run for its money

Darren McMullen hosts the TV series The Big Music Quiz.

NEW challenger in TV ratings race shakes up Sunday night.

Britney Spears calls Carpool Karaoke appearance "awkward"

Britney Spears admits her Carpool Karaoke segment was "awkward"

Mariah Carey's sister Alison arrested for prostitution

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa