A debt free Christmas… Ha ha Ho

The Christmas trees and tinsel have been up for a while now at local shopping centres and villages. Combine the tinsel and alluring shopping strips with our best intentions to give our family a great Christmas experience and we get: Spending – and lots of it! As kids, it was all about receiving gifts and getting together with family and friends, but as adults, Christmas often brings on the well-intentioned desire to do our best to provide a happy holiday for our kids, family and friends.

According to recent data, shoppers will spend an average of $3,342 on their credit cards for Christmas this year, a national spend of over $56 billion dollars. The joy of Christmas day is often diluted for parents and grandparents who are feeling anxious with what they have spent and know that soon enough, the new year will role in and their credit card debt will become all too real.

So how can we ensure a wonderful Christmas for our family and give ourselves the ultimate Christmas gift at the same time – no Christmas debt? Here are some ideas that will still allow you to show your generosity, but won’t take the sparkle out of your Christmas day;

Give yourself a reality check

There’s nothing like curbing your enthusiasm to over spend, then having a look at your bank and credit card statements before you begin shopping. A reality check of your financial position can help you to put the brakes on excessive spending and help you set a reasonable budget that won’t leave you high and dry.

Write a shopping list and stick to it

It’s so tempting to buy ‘just one more thing’ or to justify additional purchases because they are on sale or would make the ‘perfect extra little gift’. In addition, shopping at busy times, like on the weekend or at the pre-Christmas 24 hour shopping-frenzy’s can make you spend more. Choose a quiet time to do your shopping, such as on a weekday morning, so that you can stay focused on your list, without getting carried away with the surrounding hype.

Get Thrifty online

There are lots of great things about shopping online, including the ease to compare pricing and shop around without anyone noticing you’re a scrooge! There’s no shame in googling for discount codes or researching the best price on an item you have your eye on. Keep a pen and paper close by to record price comparisons for the same item and then ‘add to cart’ when you know you’ve scored yourself a real saving.

Avoid ‘Pay Later’ Schemes

Paypal’s new ‘buy now, pay later’ platform, Afterpay, is all too tempting for many, who can have whatever they want right now, without having to fork out the cash for it. These schemes are not dissimilar to interest free terms on large furniture or appliance items. Those with a few more years of life experience up their sleeve may recognise that these schemes prove a dangerous trap, whereby if you default just once, you end up paying enormous penalty charges and fees. Best to steer clear and only buy if you can pay now!

Share the cost of holiday meals

Preparing a beautiful meal for family and friends can cost hundreds, factoring in food and beverages, table decorations, with some of us splashing out on new crockery and dishes – a new dining table and chairs even! While we can’t expect our guests to go halves on the cost of the dining setting, family and friends are usually more than happy to be a part of the meals preparation and bring along salads, desert or even a main. Including guests in the meal making saves cost and also involves them in a way that they are often grateful to be included in.

Christmas is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year, giving us the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, take stock on what we have achieved over the past 12 months and appreciate what’s important in our lives. Christmas does come at a cost, and spending within our means ensures that the only hangover we need experience, is one fuelled by happy memories and a Christmas day well spent.

Axios Financial Solutions are a team of respected and highly regarded financial planners with offices on St Kilda Rd Melbourne.  Axios helps their clients meet their desired outcomes by providing tailored financial services, strategies, advice and solutions.  You can contact them at info@axios.com.au or (03) 9869 5555.

Axios Financial Solutions Pty Ltd (ACN 007 299 014), is an Authorised Representative of Charter Financial Planning Ltd, Australian Financial Services Licensee 234665

Please note that the information in this article is of a general nature only and has not taken into consideration your individual circumstances. Should you wish to discuss your personal circumstances please call us on 03 9869 5555 or email info@axios.com.au.

Level 3 The Metropolis
480 St Kilda Road
Melbourne Vic 3004