Christmas isn’t called the ‘silly season’ for nothing, as many of us seem to lose all sense of money perspective when planning our Christmas festivities, gifts and holidays, giving very little thought to how much this is going to affect our budget. If you are self-employed, December and January can also coincide with lower cash-flow in your business which can make things trickier and leave you in the ‘red’.
Moderation, planning and being money-smart is key! The following are enableMe’s top tips for making the most of your limited finances, beginning with setting a budget. Simple – but so often overlooked. You need to set a budget that factors in presents, special food, entertainment, travel, holidays etc, along with your normal everyday payments. If there is a deficit, you need to think of ways to make some cutbacks.
You should make a list of everyone you need to buy for and put a dollar limit by each present. Take the list with you when you shop and try and stick to it. If you must use your credit card or store card, be absolutely certain you can pay the amount in full when you statement arrives in January; paying 20% interest will not help with New Year expenses.
Trying to get all your Christmas shopping done at the mall on Christmas Eve is the sure-fire way to end up overspending in the last-minute rush. The earlier you start, the more likely you’ll be able find a special present and a bargain. Similarly, with sending gifts overseas - start now!
A great idea in today’s more eco-friendly world is to make your own gifts and decorations; get the kids involved. Also, get out into the garden and do some planting in pots – herbs and flowers make beautiful gifts.
Many families have an agreed limit on how much to spend or who they are buying for, so start negotiating your limits with the family now. You’ll find pretty much everyone is feeling stressed for cash at this time of the year and will be relieved to have a spending limit.
Planning in advance and sticking to a budget should be about enjoying this time and minimising financial pressures, so for more information on financial planners Auckland, certified financial planners and mortgage advisors please go to https://enableme.co.nz .