The holiday season is almost here. Christmas decorations are going up, retailers are getting ready for the ringing of tills and carols are starting to be piped through the malls. This time of year is usually associated with celebration and anticipation for the summer holidays but it can also be a tough time for people with expectations creating stress and strain, particularly on your wallet.
One of our BNZ Community members, @Ruthie , put the call out for tips for making it through the holiday season financially unscathed. Here are a few of our favourites to help you be good with money over the festive season:
- Put money aside throughout the year
This is a good way to avoid having to stretch your end-of-year budget to include all the extra costs that come with the holiday season.
_ @RC: Because I get paid monthly, I put aside money each payday, and it doesn’t seem like a lot but it really builds up. Then in December I use it to pay for gifts, and the additional dining out and drinks that the silly season always brings. I’ve never been stressed over money at Christmas, that’s the last thing you need with all the additional stress the holidays bring!_
- Buy gifts throughout the year
You won’t be stung with the cost of buying multiple presents at once and you’ll have time to think about getting the perfect gift for each person.
_ @Courtney : I like to buy gifts throughout the year to take the pressure off buying everything at once. I also keep a list of gift ideas for friends and family which I update when I think of ideas. Research for gifts online to get the best deal, fly buys is great for gifts too._
- Be sale savvy
Keep an eye out for good deals and sales throughout the year and take advantage of the post-season sales on things like wrapping paper and decorations for next year.
_ @Samara : I buy gifts through the year when sales are on. Xmas paper and things are bought in the sales after Xmas_
- Cash in your points
Whether it’s redeeming for supermarket vouchers or sourcing gifts for others using points, every little bit counts at this time of year.
_ @AC1 : I also like to ‘cash in’ extras around this time – any survey cash, power company points (brownie points – Genesis), credit card points and fly buys. It makes them more like saving funds that you don’t even know are happening!_
- Start new, finance-friendly, traditions
A family-wide Secret Santa or putting a cap on the cost of presents can reduce the pressure on everyone’s finances.
_ @SM : I organise a Secret Santa with my extended family, with a limit on how much people can spend. It reduces the stress of buying Christmas presents for EVERYONE (nieces, nephews, grandparents…) and also reigns in those over the top gift givers who make you feel guilty It’s a great family tradition now, with Granddad disappearing to the shops and Santa appearing in his place!_
- Get creative
Home-made gifts can be the best kind. Not only does it help you stay within budget, but giving gifts with a personal touch can make them more meaningful for the recipient.
_ @exlatin : For our friends we have gradually moved towards making little gifts. People tend to like the personal touch. One friend makes amazing truffles, another has a killer fruit cake recipe and I tend to use my green fingers to grow pots of herbs._
- Share and share alike
Instead of the responsibility for Christmas dinner falling on the family member who is hosting, have everyone bring something to contribute.
_ @Helly74 : Each family will bring food items to be shared for Christmas dinner_
From tips that will help you this year, to tips you can put away in your back pocket for next, our Community have come up with some great ideas for keeping on top of your finances during the silly season.
If you haven’t got your plan sorted, don’t panic. There’s still time. Check out the rest of the tips in our Xmas Spending thread and get a plan of attack on paper before you hit the shops or supermarket. Good luck out there!