Yes it’s that time of year again that seems to sneak up on us so quickly and whether you love it or hate it, chances are you’ll get caught up in the Christmas shopping fever.

Avoid a Post-Christmas Financial Hangover

Yes it’s that time of year again that seems to sneak up on us so quickly and whether you love it or hate it, chances are you’ll get caught up in the Christmas shopping fever.

Some of your presents will represent the true meaning of Christmas; well thought out pressies for your special loved ones, inexpensive gifts chosen purely because you know they’ll love it, and no flashy price tag required, but then there’s the other gifts.  You know the ones.  You just couldn’t resist buying that xbox and watching Nathan’s face as he pulls back the paper and sees that brand new xbox he’s been talking about for months. What about that new bike Holly has been dreaming about or the extra gifts you buy just in case extra visitors pop in.

So before you think about smashing the shops, keep in mind these few tips to avoid that post Christmas financial hangover.

1. Try not to borrow money for Christmas presents

As my wise father always told me, ‘if you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it’!  Ok, so maybe I have broken that rule a few times myself, but generally I really do try to stick to it. I have a very small limit on my credit card and make sure it’s paid off each month before I’m hit with their ridiculously high interest fees.

It’s so easy just to whip out the credit card for your Christmas gifts, especially with so many pressies now available online. Also if you haven’t budgeted for Christmas and you feel like you’re getting hit with the expense all in one month, it’s easy to rack up that credit card far past its usual comfort level.  Just remember though, you are literally borrowing money to buy gifts and could pay around 17% for that privilege.
So when you’re using your credit card this Christmas remember these tips;

  • Try not to increase your limit to accommodate for Christmas
  • Be conscious when you’re buying gifts on credit you are borrowing the money
  • Try to pay your credit card debt off before you get hit with the high interest fees.
  • If you have the cash, top up your credit card before you start buying

2. Remember, you don’t need to pay full price

If you’re like most people, a lot of your Christmas shopping is done very close to Christmas when everything is full price. Of course it would be sensible to look out for bargains all throughout the year and have all your gifts ready to go for the 25th, but let’s admit it, most of us just aren’t that disciplined.
Don’t forget with a small amount of planning there are many places online where you can bag a bargain, you just need to allow for the time it takes for shipping to get your gifts delivered to you.

And of course another benefit to shopping online is heading to Google and typing in exactly what you are looking for. This way you can find exactly what you are looking for without having to spend hours searching through the shops where you could also be tempted to buy extra things you really don’t need. For example my daughter and her friends are crazy about horses so I search for Aussie shops online with horse gifts and I’m able to get all the horse themed gifts I need from one spot without stepping a foot out of my front door. To me that’s priceless.

3. Don’t buy to excess and stick to your budget

Getting carried away with the Christmas spirit is one of my favorite things to do, but it can have its consequences. Before you start your annual buying ritual, take a small amount of time to do some planning. It can be as simple as writing out a list of all the people you need to buy for, jotting down an idea of what to buy them and adding an approximate cost next to each name. Don’t forget to allow for all those little extras too including Christmas wrapping paper, cards, decorations, paper plates, napkins, drinks and food etc. After you’ve jotted this all down, add up your total and make sure you’re comfortable with it, but most of all, stick to it! If your total spend surprises you now that you can see it in writing, make some adjustments.

4. Avoid getting stuck with all the cost if Christmas lunch is at your place

Having a great Christmas lunch is probably the major highlight of the festive season for many people. Families come in all shapes and sizes and quite often there many mouths to feed on Christmas day. With everyone relaxed and enjoying the Christmas cheer, quite a lot of food and drink can get consumed. Christmas is about both giving and receiving, so if you’re having Christmas at your place this year, don’t feel shy to ask everyone to bring something along.

‘BYO drinks and deck chair’ has become a common phrase in this day and age so make sure you use it. The bill for soft drinks and alcohol can rack up very easily, so to save yourself from this expensive getting out of control, don’t be shy and ask everyone to bring their bring their own.

Of course, asking everyone to bring a platter is a must, and you may be surprised how happy people are more than happy to do this and how much money you can save. Have you seen some of the prices of those cheese platters!

5. Think alternatively

More and more people are becoming ultra practical about Christmas and the next suggestion is growing more and more popular all the time…..wait until after Christmas to buy Christmas presents! The next day the stores are open after Christmas the shops go crazy with sales and you can bag a bargain almost everywhere. If you’re practical and your family and friends are practical why not suggest it!  (Of course Santa will be bringing gifts for all the children, I’m just talking about the other gifts). Quite often there are friends you won’t see until after Christmas anyway so why not wait and buy their gifts later.

Well that’s it from me for 2010. I hope you’ve enjoyed my money saving tips and I look forward to bringing you more in 2011.

Until then, happy saving and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

All the best, Angela.

Information printed in this article is current from: December 2010