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For many families Christmas can mean splashing out and spending on presents, clothes, food and decorations. But to many of us, it’s about connecting with each other. More than any other year, in 2020 we all want to get together and celebrate the years end. It has been a tough year for many of us with the pandemic impacting most people in some way or another.
Our 2020 Christmas shopping may look a bit different this year, with people less willing to join the crowds to self-distance from people and many opting for the safety of online shopping instead.

With the popularity of “Buy Now, Pay Later” services such as Afterpay and Zip Pay, credit card debit is not likely to be as high this year. We’re not travelling as much and with many people who have lost work, businesses or had their income reduced, the appetite for a big Christmas is muted.

According to Finder report – Christmas spending statistics 2019, in 2019 Australians spent over 18.8 billion on Christmas, with an average household spend of $969. Over 5 million Australians funded their spending on credit, with 19% on credit card and further 7% on Buy Now Pay Later services.

To help you manage your funds over this Christmas and beyond, its vital to make a plan and monitor your spending. We have compiled a list of tips to help you avoid overspending:

Set a Budget

Before you even start your Christmas shopping, decide how much you want to spend. Remember, Christmas spending includes not only presents but also travel, food and decorations.

Divide your budget into three different categories: How much you want to spend on gifts? How much on travel costs? How many special events during Christmas and how much will they cost?

Take half an hour out of your evening at home to sit down and sort out how much you can afford to spend on gifts this season, list the people you need to buy gifts for, and figure out what you could get them within your budget. Most importantly, stick to the budget!

If the numbers are not lining up, then you need to look at where you can make sacrifices within your budget. You may need to cut down on Christmas parties this year, in order to keep to your spending budget or maybe suggest a family Secret Santa for a growing extended family that is killing your budget.

Establish expectation early

It’s vital if you decide to cut down on your spending during the Christmas period, that you establish expectations early on with your family and children. For example, a great way to cut down on your children’s gifts is instead of giving multiple gifts give three – one thing they want, one thing they need and one experience to share with the family.

Ensure you tell your family that you’re cutting back spending early on and explain to them about your decision and why you decided to make it. Similarly, if you intend to take a new gift-giving approach to your extended family, it is helpful to inform them early about your decision and why you decided to make it.

Suggest a family Secret Santa

Why not suggest a family Secret Santa? Not only will it be easier on the family wallet, but it can potentially encourage a bit more thought being given to what’s being bought. Secret Santa is not a new concept, but it’s very easy to do. Everyone who is giving a gift pops their names in a hat (or excel sheet) and you draw out a name (which can’t be your own) and then purchase a gift for that one person and you also receive a gift. Set a clear budget spend for Secret Santa, generally between $75 to $100 is the norm.

It’s recommend to do Secret Santa for adults only in your family. Put all the adults in the draw each year and then you can choose how you wish to give gifts for the children in the family, whether it may be a small gift for each child, as Christmas is all about the kids right?

There are a many benefits to having a family Secret Santa including spending much less overall, less stressing over what to get everyone, the ability to get a great gift for one person and save time on shopping.

Present savings

Make sure you set a price limit and stick to it. If you get what you’re after for less than the limit set, than smile and use the extra cash to pay off debts or save towards something nice.

Start your shopping early, not the week before Christmas, buy gifts when you see them. Look out for sales throughout the year. Also take note, this week is the biggest retail week on the calendar with Black Friday on the 27th  November followed by Cyber Monday on 30th November. Beware of overspending and using your credit card to make the purchase, as it could mean that you lose the bargain, so stick to your budget.

Ensure you shop around and look for bargains in op shops, antique stores and secondhand bookshops. It’s a great way to find a unique gift that no one else will have and save you some cash at the same time.

If you’re in a relationship, consider setting the spending limits or perhaps just buys gifts for kids this year or take yourself and your partner out for a nice dinner instead.

Track your spending

Ensure you continue to track your spending through the Christmas period, there is no use setting a budget plan if you don’t stick to it. You need to be diligent to stay inside your budget plan.

Avoiding overspending during the holiday season may not be easy. It certainly requires extra time and effort. But trust me, your January-You will thank you for it.

Resist the urge to treat yourself

Alongside Christmas shopping, brings the urge to treat yourself and then the uncontrolled spending spree. Resist the urge to indulge, by only entering the stores you need to and avoid the most dangerous of exercises, window shopping. It best to stick to the strict ‘in and out’ rule and leave when you’ve got everything on your list.

Beware of retail marketing

Beware of traps like price deception – when prices are marked up and then down to make you think you’re getting a deal. Planning and researching ahead of time will ensure you’re not taken for a ride.

Reduce spending at Christmas parties

Another big expense is the parties that come hand in hand with Christmas. To ensure you don’t overspend, limit your spending from the get-go. Take out a pre-determined amount of cash and put that in your wallet to physically limit the amount you can spend on the night out. Save temptation and leave your credit cards at home to ensure you won’t overspend.

Also, why not consider your health when attending Christmas parties? Give a thought to your health before going out for the third time in a week, and not only will your body be grateful, but your wallet won’t be too upset either.

Save on travel over Christmas

Many Australians will be looking to fly to coop and travel to visit family and holiday this Christmas period and with the majority of borders now open, travel is on the cards for many families this summer.

A summer break can be more expensive than you think and can often become the biggest cost of the Christmas season. A way to keep costs down, is why not go camping? If you family is the outdoorsy or adventurous type, it might be the perfect way to escape and keep costs down. While there are still a handful of costs such as petrol, site fees and food etc. camping is generally considered cheaper than any other type of holiday.

You might be able to afford a full-price summer holiday, but a bit of a discount goes a long way towards your Christmas budget! Keep a close eye on bargain holiday sites such sites as LastminuteWotif.com, and Airbnb or Stayz, where you might find the same or a similar holiday for a lower price. Shopping around never hurt anyone!

Another option is going on small day trips and exploring small country towns close to home. You’ll get the same feeling of exploring a new place and with the added benefit of saving on accommodation costs.

Christmas can be a stressful time for a variety of reasons, but by planning and tracking your spending, you can avoid mounting debt and enjoy a worry-free holiday season.

We hope our article has helped you with your spending over the busy Christmas period and from all the staff Oracle, we wish you a Merry Christmas and an even better New Year.

If you need any assistance with your cash flow management or savings goals, why not speak to financial planner?

We can help you manage your budget and achieve your savings goals.
Contact us or book a free consultation today!

Important information – Oracle Advisory Group makes no representation or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. The information in this document is general information only and is not based on the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular investor. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this document, and seek their own professional advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information provided in the document is current as the time of publication.
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