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Save during the silly season Posted on October 9, 2018
Just as health and fitness experts insist on preparation prior to school holidays to ensure the year’s hard work is not destroyed by a single breakfast buffet, so too financial advisers would like you to think seriously about how you might handle the special demands of the Christmas break.
A time of giving, receiving and holiday merriment can also mean extra expenses, a loss of financial discipline and a distraction from the end goal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just follow these simple steps.
Have a reality check
How much have you saved and put aside for gifts, holidays and other expenses this Christmas? That amount is the budget you must work within. If you have budgeted throughout the year then a specific amount will be put aside. But if you haven’t, use this as a lesson for next year and begin your budget planning for next Christmas right now. Many believe much of the joy of a holiday is in its anticipation, so give yourself 12 months of joy by saving for and planning next year’s Christmas getaway.
Set limits for gifts
Before you go gift shopping, know how much you’re able to spend on each individual. While you’re at it, set financial limits together with your family and friends so that nobody feels any pressure to over-spend. Or simply organise a Secret Santa and take the pressure, and the price, out of buying for everybody.
Leave the credit cards at home
If you have budgeted for gifts, then take cash when you go shopping. Cash makes the spending experience far more real and is likely to encourage you to stick to your guns when it comes to your budget. Numerous studies have proven that people spend more money when shopping with credit cards than they do when shopping with cash as credit cards make the ‘pain of paying’ far more bearable.
Turn your house into a resort
Would you rather spend tens of thousands of dollars on a fortnight overseas or instead invest it in your house, which should not only increase your home’s value but also increase your enjoyment of being at home year-round? Extensions, bathrooms and kitchens are the big-ticket items, and at the other end of the price spectrum is the simple act of painting rooms and sprucing up the garden. Either way it is likely to result in greater value and long-term enjoyment of your home.
Learn to say ‘no’
Whether you’re having a conversation with yourself about buying an expensive gift, enjoying a chat with your partner about upgrading to a king suite at a five-star hotel, or simply being invited to yet another celebratory dinner, always be aware that holidays are a time of great temptation. Holidays are designed for your own relaxation, to spend time with people you really care about or to simply wind down on your own. If you don’t learn to say no then the result will likely be the opposite with less recovery time, less energy and greater financial stress. This will start your new year in the worst possible shape. Saying no to temptation will help your long-term plans to stay achievable, which in itself is a powerful source of stress relief.