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Holiday stressors: Managing money over Christmas

By Georgina Lavan

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Source: Pinterest

With 10 days to go, the holiday break can be the most stressful part of the year for many of us. Money is often the most nerve-wracking part of the season as there are a lot of outgoings whilst the office shuts down for the two week break. With the help of BodyMatters, we’ve come up with some ways to help you get through the festive season, whilst leaving you some change for the New Year.

  • Make that list and check it twice

Preparing for what’s ahead this Christmas means that you can avoid purchasing impulsive and unnecessary items. Your key categories are the following:

Food/beverages – knowing what you’re preparing for Christmas day gives you the chance to research the best prices in your area and not overspend at the supermarket. You’re also not doubling up on sides and salads.

Presents – knowing who you’re buying for, what your budget is and what they’d like gives you an idea on how much you need to spend. Having a look around online to see what stores are offering. Don’t be afraid to ask for a price match if somewhere else is offering a gift for less.

Decorations – see what you have, what is missing and what is practical for your home. Do you really need that 10 foot inflatable Santa for your backyard that no one will see? Also, factor in that stringing your whole house with lights will cost you more when your power bill arrives.

Activities/travel – If you’re travelling during the holiday season, prepare for costs to increase. Flights, petrol prices and travel insurance can be the killers in travelling over the holidays, so prepare in advance so you don’t get surprised by the price hikes.

  • Jump online for savings on presents

Signing up to sites often means secret sale discounts, so it’s always handy being members of major websites for these offers. The big holidays in the States and UK mean that Black Friday sales (the day after Thanksgiving) can offer you huge discounts online for clothing, beauty, sportswear and homewares. Be prepared in advance, know what you want and don’t get caught up on impulsive purchases. Be wary, some websites may charge you a large amount for shipping, but if you do your research, you can find some great websites where they ship at a flat fee or for free depending on how much you spend.

  • Save on holiday activities

Entertaining the kids whilst on 6-8 weeks of holidays can be extremely expensive. Thinking outside the box however can help you save some money. Some examples may include a day at the beach with an esky full of snacks, or a trip into the city on the bus to see the department store windows. Family passes to the cricket or museums make days out affordable for two parents and two children. Also, purchasing your snacks at the supermarket for the movies means you’re not paying through the roof for a choc top or a bag of malteasers.

  • Don’t fall into the trap of gift cards

Gift cards are an easy way to buy a gift without choosing something that your loved one may not like. However, if it gets tucked in the drawer and forgotten about, it can often expire, meaning money has gone to waste. Another factor is purchasing gift cards from companies that are on the verge of bust – will they honour your gift card? And of course, what happens if the card gets lost or stolen? These are factors to consider when purchasing e-gifts for your loved ones.

  • Go DIY

If you’re short on money this season, why not resort to your talents to treat others this Christmas. Food gifts can show off your cooking skills and can be made in bulk, cutting down costs. Rather than sending cards to your Great Aunt Mildred or family friends you haven’t spoken to in years, why not opt for an online card or video recording for all to watch? These add personal touches to your Christmas cheer and show off your creativity.

  • Christmas IOU’s

We often go and buy presents for our family to find that they go on sale days later in the Boxing Day sales. Big ticket items such as TV’s or white goods are usually sale items, so if your family don’t mind waiting, create a festive IOU and purchase the gift days later.

  • Save on postage

As Christmas approaches, prices on postage increase for those wanting their gifts to get to relatives last minute. Prepare in advance and know your postage cut off dates so you’re not opting for express or courier prices.

  • Plan for next year’s Christmas

Boxing Day and New Year’s sales mean that stores are eager to get rid of Christmas stock to make way for Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs. Purchasing wrapping paper, Christmas crackers and table dressings on sale saves you from purchasing them next year when they’re back at full price. Having a Christmas cupboard means you know where everything is kept and not having to repurchase items when you can’t find it the following year.

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