Ho-ho-ho! Control Your Holiday Spending Easily!

The holiday season makes it easy to go big with your spending, but you don’t want to lose sight of your budget completely. The holidays are all about being with family, giving back, and focusing on what’s really important. Still, the average Aussie spends $464 on Christmas gifts alone during the season of giving. That means it’s never been more essential to control your holiday spendings.

The holidays are supposed to be focused on cheer and being with loved ones. Instead of letting this season get overshadowed by long trips to your favourite retailers, consider other ways to control your holiday spendings. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it makes all the difference in your end-of-year budget.

1. Make a List (and Check It Twice)

First, make an actual shopping list. A shopping list helps you stay on track so you only shop for things you really need. While you might be feeling generous, resist the urge to give a special gift to everyone in your life. Though a nice gesture, there’s really no reason to buy things for people you don’t know very well.

Every purchase adds up. Don’t waste your special funds on people who aren’t likely to remember your gift a few days later. Instead, consider a smaller, inexpensive gift (like homemade baked goods) for neighbours, coworkers, or extended family.

2. Make a Holiday Spendings Budget

Next, the best way to control your holiday spending easily is to create a budget. While you should already have a budget around how much you spend normally, this goes beyond that. A holiday spending budget is specifically for the holiday season.

You can break this down in a few different ways. You might dedicate a specific amount for each person (like $50). On the other hand, you could limit yourself to a specific total amount for the whole season of giving. When you have a budget in mind, it’s much easier to avoid overspending.

3. Shop at the Right Times

Did you know there’s a right time to shop when it comes to the holiday season? Look for special savings discounts around November as retailers prepare for Christmas. If possible, start your holiday shopping early. You can find great deals throughout the year, including at the start of the year.

When you shop early, you also avoid the mad rush to the stores during peak holiday times. Having all of your shopping done sooner rather than later avoids needing to spend more than you can afford, plus it earns you peace of mind.

4. Avoid Expensive Upsells

Another way to save big on your holiday spendings is to avoid expensive upsells. Too many retailers are savvier than ever. They know how to make you part with your money, even if you don’t notice right away. Beware of these upsells on some of your most beloved retailer websites! They’re so normal, they’re sometimes hard to even notice.

One of the most common examples of this is free shipping. While some retailers online might offer free shipping, you usually have to reach a certain threshold. For example, free shipping with orders over $75. This is great if you’re planning on spending that much already, but it’s otherwise a trap to lure you into spending more than you planned.

5. Get Creative with Gifts

Finally, as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. Many people are overwhelmed with the number of gifts they receive each year, and they might not be able to use everything they get. Instead of giving things that just collect dust and go to waste, let your creativity shine. Not every holiday gift has to be a physical item! Here are some low-cost ideas:

  • Gift an experience (dining, tickets, activity)
  • DIY a special gift
  • Bake something delicious
  • Cook a yummy dinner
  • Something thrifted
  • Homemade artwork
  • Subscription service
  • Practical items (toiletries, kitchenware, etc.)

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to gifts. Make sure your selection comes from the heart and serves a valuable purpose, whether it’s entertainment, remembrance, or practicality.

Enjoy the Holiday Season Responsibly

Ultimately, you should feel excited about enjoying the holiday season responsibly. This means taking accountability for your own budget and shopping list. As long as you’re prepared, you don’t have to sacrifice any Christmas cheer to make the most of the season. This is a time of year about much more than giving gifts. When your heart is in the right place, you will have peace of mind.

Do you need help managing your money this holiday season? For assistance controlling your holiday spendings, contact the pros on 1300 368 322. The team at Debt Busters are here to help with individualised plans and strategies created around your financial goals. Whether you’re paying down debt, creating a budget, or starting a savings plan, let’s work together.

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