Giving gifts is one of the most special parts of the Christmas season. Whether you are ripping through your advent calendar with joy each day or gifting special items to each of your family members, it can be difficult to get through Christmas without breaking the bank.
Though the holidays are undeniably one of the most magical times of the year, the real joy isn’t in spending the most money. It’s actually in spending time with your family and looking for creative ways to connect with others. No matter your budget this Christmas, keep reading to learn how to budget for advent and Christmas without breaking the bank.
Plan in Advance to Save Big
If you’re one of those who is often caught holiday shopping the week before Christmas, you likely know just how high prices can get when the clock is ticking. Instead, plan in advance to save big when it comes to advent and Christmas without breaking the bank. Not only can you schedule your shopping months in advance, but you can avoid the holiday rush during the peak shopping season.
In addition, plan to make sure you know exactly what you want to get. Remember, you don’t have to buy everyone in your life a gift. Just because someone got you a gift in the past, doesn’t mean you need to return the favour this year. Consider your relationships with the people in your life and whether or not a gift is really necessary. In most cases, you don’t need a gift to make sure people feel loved and appreciated.
Make a Separate Christmas Account
Next, consider making a separate Christmas account for your holiday spending money. A separate bank account just for money intended to spend over the Christmas period can help alleviate some of the stress that comes along with big spending. Because you don’t want to break the bank, setting money aside throughout the year helps you prepare for this special occasion.
For example, if you deposit as little as $20 a week starting in January you can save close to $1,000 by the time November comes around. This is a small goal that you can easily build into your existing budget. While it’s tempting to go into debt for the Christmas season, it’s always a better idea to avoid the holiday debt hangover. Explore your online banking account to see if a separate Christmas account is possible or another type of high-yield savings account.
Explore Frugal Gift Ideas
Another option is to explore frugal gift ideas. While your spending plan is the first step, there’s no real need to go overboard on spending every December. Stretching your budget often means getting creative. Not only can you create gifts from things you already have at home but you can also explore some of these money-saving ideas below:
- White Elephant: A white elephant gift exchange is where your friends and family gather, each bringing a gift. You take turns opening gifts, swapping out who gets what, and sharing laughter. It’s just as fun as a traditional gift exchange, but you don’t have to worry about getting more than one gift.
- Secret Santa: Another option is to hold a Secret Santa exchange. This is when you choose one person to exchange gifts with, and the names are usually kept secret until a big reveal. Again, by limiting the number of gifts, you avoid overspending.
- Gift of time: Alternatively, give the gift of your time. Think of a special skill you can do for others, whether it’s helping them clean their lawn, planning a trip, or taking a chore off their plate. You’d be surprised how meaningful your time can be!
Skip the Credit Cards
Last but not least, leave the credit cards behind this holiday season. Though it’s easy to put all of your expenses on your latest credit card, this is one of the easiest ways to slip into a debt trap. Remember that gifts are intended to bring joy. That doesn’t have to come with a large price tag, and it definitely shouldn’t send you into debt.
Instead, make a decision ahead of time to not use your credit cards. Along with your savings plan, make an active decision to change any previous money behaviour to make healthier choices. Once you eliminate your credit cards from the equation, you can focus on your true budget for advent and Christmas. This is a realistic way to stick to your financial goals while also building stronger money habits.
Create an Advent and Christmas to Remember
Just as you learned in all of those classic Christmas movies, the real spirit of giving is about spending time with those you love. No matter your financial situation, you can achieve advent and Christmas without breaking the bank. As long as you have a spending plan, and the will to stick to it, you can avoid the dreaded post-Christmas debt hangover.
With a growing percentage of Australians going into debt each December, don’t become a part of this statistic. If you’re not sure what steps to take to prepare for this holiday season and beyond, contact Debt Buster’s today on 1300 368 322 to work with a member of our team. No matter your situation, we’re always here to help!