Don’t let the spirit of Christmas drive you to the brink

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Tips now to save you some money and make it all less stressful.

The countdown is on and it is only six weeks until Christmas! Now is the time to plan ahead so you don’t get caught up in the moment and end up breaking the bank and falling into debt.

  1. Create a budget and…well, don’t budge. Seems simple enough, but it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and overlook your spending and fall too far into debt.
  2. Put together a list of people you want to spend money on, and then add possible gift items against each person. Then, stick to it. It’s essential to avoid impulse buys but if you have a pre-considered list and do not deviate from it, it will go a long way to helping you avoid buying inappropriate, overpriced items.
  3. Go it alone. While it’s nice to go shopping with someone, sometimes it can be an extremely bad idea as items you’ve never seen before can inexplicably appear at the sales counter. Shop alone and stay focused on your list.
  4. Start early and shop around for the best deal. Remember the closer you get to Christmas the less likelihood of finding anything on special. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of Christmas shopping. When everyone is madly fighting to get their hands on the latest electronic gizmo, it’s hard not to feel you need it too. Be smart and do your shopping during the quiet period so you can keep a clear head and steer clear of the mania.
  5. Get crafty and make your own gifts. They will come across as decidedly more heartfelt thanks to the effort you’ve put into making them. Mine the internet for ideas – there are thousands on offer (start with Pinterest)!
  6. Check online – the same item you can purchase instore can generally also be found online – and it may be cheaper and free postage is frequently on offer.
  7. Put a small amount of money aside each week of the year so when you hit the Christmas shopping period you have a ready-to-go gift fund that won’t eat into your bank balance.
  8. Try not to use credit when buying presents. The repayments can be crippling, and you can end up in a debt spiral that is hard to get out of. If you can’t shop without the plastic, the op shop and handmade tips included in this list could instead be your best friend. Giving an amazing gift doesn’t necessarily have to involve big dollars – think clever.
  9. Who really loves Christmas the most? Children, of course. So rather than buying for everyone in the family, sit down and talk about spending on just the kids. The adults will probably be relieved.
  10. Make your own cards from family photos. It’s more heartfelt and a lovely keepsake for the recipient.