There’s nothing quite like the January arrival of your post-Christmas credit card bills to make you thankful that the festive season only appears once a year.
We’ve all been there. Despite being armed with our gift lists, best intentions and slightly under-funded Christmas savings the lure of the ‘Christmas gift emporium’ won out again and what started as a modest bath robe for mum soon turned into a robe with matching nightgown, slippers, pedicure pack and face mask for good measure… Oops!
The good news is, with a whole 12 months up our sleeves before the silly season rolls around again, the beginning of a new year is a prime opportunity to undertake a little pre-Christmas planning and set yourself up for a stress free festive season in 2015.
All it takes is a few simple steps…
- Clear your credit card balance
Interest has this funny way of compounding your expenses so priority number one is getting last year’s spending squared away. As painful as it might be, put savings on the backburner for now and focus your budget on getting your credit cards cleared asap.
- Open a Christmas savings account
There’s a lot to be said for ‘out of sight out of mind’. Your Christmas savings need to be kept in an account that you don’t access regularly (preferably at all) so they can accumulate nicely behind the scenes without any sneaky withdrawals. Ask your bank what options they have for a Christmas club account and use automatic transfers to get your savings going. Then LEAVE THEM ALONE.
- Shop for gifts year round
There are very few Christmas gift ideas that are available for purchase ONLY at Christmas time. By giving some early thought to what you’ll buy your loved ones, you can make the most of sales and special offers throughout the year instead of getting caught in the Christmas hype and having to settle for the best of what’s left. End of financial year stocktake sales are a great opportunity to bag a bargain!
- Start now
If you take only one thing from this blog, let it be this – the key to success in your pre-Christmas planning is to start now and make the most of a full 12 months of savings opportunities. Time is still on your side and with a little new-year preparation there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a stress free festive season.
There you have it, a four step plan to Christmas success. Start now and let 2015 be the year you spoil mum with extravagance… guilt free!
By Amanda Maroske