We don’t know about you but around this time of year we feel the same way. Christmas = see ya later savings! Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE Christmas, huge fans, but it can be a bit daunting when you have a lot of people to buy for and you don’t really want to blow all your savings. However, it doesn’t need to be like this. As soon as we sit down in front of our computers and start planning gifts and how much those gifts will cost, it feels like our bank accounts have a bit more breathing room. So, if you’re feeling a bit worried for your own finances this Christmas, allow us to present to you AJ’s guide to staying on budget this Christmas!
1.Use a Christmas budget tracker to actually KEEP TRACK
We’re firm believers that saving money all comes down to the planning of things. Trust us, we’ve had first hand experience on this. Now, we reckon you can go about this two ways: either you plan your budget for each person you’re buying for – for example you may have a maximum spend of $300 on mum; OR you plan your gifts (if you already know what you want to buy for people) and work your budget around that… and your income. Seriously, having the one place you can put everything is going to help you feel in CONTROL of your money.
Lucky for all you readers we’ve made our own Christmas Budget Tracker. Just hit that subscribe button and we’ll send it straight to you so you can start planning your gifts now!
We think everyone will agree when we say that shopping centres around Christmas time is like entering hell. It’s near damn IMPOSSIBLE to get a carpark anytime after 10:30am, you’re playing dodgem cars with everyone in the shopping centre because you happen to walk faster than everyone else, and by this time of year your patience levels are probably negative 5. Not only that but you kind of start feeding off everyone else’s stress and you just want to get the eff out, so you’re already at risk of forgetting your budget, impulse buying, or not buying the gift/s you had in mind. You want to do your Christmas shopping in a relaxed and calm state where you feel like you have time to think. We’d suggest to run to the shopping centre first thing as doors open, or do some late night shopping, a.k.a shop smartly! Oh… and take your gift list with you!
3.Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Don’t be afraid to unleash the creative beast that resides deep down inside your soul. Gifts right from the heart are much better appreciated anyway. Boyfriend or girlfriend? Give them a free coupon for a pampering massage by yours truly (light some candles, get some lotion/oil… you get the idea). Mum and Dad? Offer to cook a hearty Christmas feast including their favourite foods (and wine… don’t forget the wine). Or print out a photo of the family (or just you… whatever), and set it in a nice picture frame (preferably one you actually made…)
Go halves with another family member or friend for that special person you’re buying for. Especially if the item you want to buy is a bit out of your budget range, this strategy will work perfectly for you!
Some people don’t like this option (Amanda is one of those people as she likes to rack up rewards points on her credit card). Having said that, if you’re a bit concerned about going beyond your budget, ONLY take cash with you (that obviously matches your budget) and leave the credit cards at home people. You physically won’t be able to go over your budget!
6.Do not leave it until the last minute
We’ve been guilty of this one a few times, and it’s bloody stressful shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve. No thanks, not this year. Set yourself a date where you will have all your gifts ready! Yes, this all involves a bit of planning on your end but you’ll thank your wonderful self later. So, depending on your plans for Christmas, plan your gift deadline appropriately.
7.Buy your gifts throughout the year (when the killer sales are on)
Ok, so this one you can’t really apply for this Christmas as it’s only a month away. BUT, if you want to save yourself some serious coin (and definitely a bit of stress), then we suggest you buy your gifts when the sales hit during the year.
Amanda: I’ve never been one to try this strategy, until this year. Sometimes you just come across those sales where the item was made for someone and you can’t resist. This is when you stash away that gift in the depths of your cupboard ready for Christmas!
Do you have any other strategies you use when buying gifts or staying on budget? Leave us a comment below!