The holiday season. Love it or hate it, we all know the festive season is a bitch for your bank account. So, to hopefully make it a lil less bitchy for you, I’ve compiled a list of some of the easiest things I do to make sure I am financially prepared for the holiday season.
1. Budget Ahead of Time
In an ideal world, it’d probably be best to start budgeting for Christmas 364 days beforehand. Ha ha ha. Ok, this is obviously not realistic, and I definitely don’t do this myself, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t already financially prepared. Obviously though, the earlier you do budget for Christmas, the less stressful it’s going to be for your bank account. I like to start budgeting about 3 months before Christmas, which equates to 12 weeks of saving.
If you do have the time to budget ahead of time, create a separate bank account specifically for your Christmas savings. This way, you won’t be tempted to spend that holiday money throughout the year. If you don’t have the time to budget ahead this year (very likely seeing as Christmas is less than 6 weeks away at time of writing), don’t stress because there’s still plenty of things you can do to financially prepare.
2. Write A List of Gift Recipients
One of the most important things you can do in the lead up to Christmas is to write a list of all the people that you’re going to buy presents for this year. By doing this, you can see how many people you need to budget for, and you can keep track of presents you’ve already purchased and remind yourself of which presents you still need to buy. I write my list in the notes on my phone, so that I always have it with me and so I can make sure I’m not doubling up on presents.
3. Talk To The People On Your List
It’s all well and good to want to buy presents for every single person that you love, but sometimes, those people don’t actually want you to buy them a present. That’s why communication is so damn important. Speak to your loved ones about how they actually feel about Christmas presents. You might be surprised at the response you get from them.
For example, my boyfriend and I had a chat about presents this year, and we decided that we don’t actually really need or want anything from each other. So, instead of wasting a bunch of money on shit we don’t care about, we’re going to use that saved money to treat ourselves to a weekend away after the holiday season. For us, that time away together is way more valuable than any material gift.
Not only that, but talk to your loved ones about setting a price limit on gifts. If you’ve got 35 nieces and nephews to buy presents for, discuss with their parents a price limit for each gift so that every child is treated the same AND so your bank account doesn’t have to suffer. By having these open and honest money chats, you’ll be surprised at how understanding and accommodating most people are.
4. Set a Budget & Stick To It!
Once you’ve finalised your list of gift recipients, figure out how much money you want to spend on each person. And please, choose an amount that you can actually afford. You might have the best intentions by planning to spend $250 on your best friend, but if that $250 gift is going to put you into debt, then you can’t actually afford to spend that much. If you need to AfterPay the gift or put it on credit because you don’t have the funds in your bank account, do not spend that much. Anyone that truly loves you would never want you to go into debt for them, so just don’t do it.
5. Pool Your Rewards Points
One thing I do every year to financially prepare for the holidays, is to bank all of my Rewards points and then use them during the festive season. Take, for example, my Woolworths Rewards points. By doing my regular grocery shopping at Woolworths throughout the year, I’ve already managed to accumulate $70 to put towards Christmas food/drinks.
You can also save all of your cash back from apps like Cash Rewards and Shop Back, and then redeem it during the festive season. This is kinda like forced savings and provides a nice little boost for your bank account while you’re simultaneously draining it to buy Christmas presents. Check out my post 5 Apps I Use To Make Legit Money to see other apps that can be used as forced savings for the festive season.
6. Buy Gifts Through Cash Back Apps
Speaking of cash back apps, use them to buy presents! These apps always have awesome deals for online shops, and you’ll save heaps of money by buying gifts through them. Below are some of the Cash Rewards deals that are featured today.
7. Secret Santa
This is probably the oldest trick ever to be used when it comes to saving money during the festive season, but it’s still a damn classic so I’m keeping it on my list. Whenever and wherever you can, opt to do a Secret Santa rather than forking out to buy everyone a present. Work Christmas party? Secret Santa. Christmas brunch with the housemates? Secret Santa. Lunch with the extended fam? Secret Santa. Boxing Day with your partner’s fam? Secret Santa.
Be the person that always suggests Secret Santa because more often than not you’ll be the person that also sets the price limit. And people will love you for it. Trust me.
8. Make Your Own Gifts
Look, I’m not going to lie, I don’t really do this. I’d bloody love to though, and it’s the thought that counts, right?
If you are creative or crafty in any way, a sure fire way to save money during the festive season is to make your own gifts for your loved ones. Not only will you save money, but people are also way more likely to appreciate a handmade gift. The possibilities of gifts that you can make are endless – from candles, to cookies, to bath bombs, to jewellery, to artwork and even body scrubs. Get creative and your bank account will thank you.
9. Learn How To Say No
Finally, the one thing that is most important during the festive season is to learn how to say no to some events. Not only is this important for your bank account, but it’s also really damn important for your mental health.
Remember, you do not have to attend every single Christmas event that you have been invited to. You don’t have to go to your work Christmas party if you hate your colleagues. You can say no to attending the BBQ hosted by your weird, once-removed half cousin. And you sure as hell don’t have to host an event at yours if you don’t want to. Be kind to yourself, because that’s the only way any of us are getting through the festive season alive.
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The Stingy Bitch
Based in Sydney, Australia.
Created in 2020.
This site and all of it’s contents are provided for entertainment purposes only and do not constitute personal financial advice. All products that are mentioned are general product advice only, not personal product advice. Not all options are presented and my opinions are subject to change. All content and posts have been prepared as a general summary only and is not intended to be financial advice with respect to any particular matter. This post should not be relied on with respect to any particular matter. If you have questions about any aspect of the content or this site or otherwise require personal financial advice, you ought to seek financial advice. The author disclaims liability to any person who relies on this post.
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