The silly season is almost upon us and it’s a time when many of us start to get nervous about not only what we have to get done but also our finances.
After COVID restrictions lifted last year, Kiwis spent a whopping $5.2b at retail stores in the lead up to Christmas, and nearly $100m on Boxing day! Spending at critical retail stores rose 6.9% on 2020 over this period – setting a new record within the Worldline NZ’s payments network.
Here are our top tips for making the most of your finances over this cash intensive time!
- Set a budget for the upcoming months, factoring in presents, special food, entertainment, travel etc. along with your normal everyday payments. If there is a deficit, you have to make sacrifices or cut backs.
- Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and put a $ limit by each present. Take the list with you when you shop and try and stick to it.
- Cash is powerful. Use it, you’ll spend less. Try to avoid credit cards or store cards. Even if you can pay it back in January, it’s likely you’ll spend more than you wanted to and easily lose track of where you are at with your finances. If you can’t pay it back in full, ask yourself do you really want to be paying the price of the gift plus 20-30% interest on top of this? The answer should be no.
- Start early. Don’t be that person running madly around the mall on Christmas Eve looking stressed and panic buying. The earlier you start, the more likely you’ll be able to get a bargain and find a special present. Special and thoughtful does not have to equate to expensive.
- Organise your overseas gifts even earlier! I know how much the express fees sting – you often end up paying more than the gift in postage. Check out NZ Post’s mailing cut-off dates for this year’s deadlines.
- Many families have an agreed limit on how much to spend or who they are buying for e.g. only buying for the kids or doing a secret Santa. Start negotiating your limits. You’ll find pretty much everyone is in the same boat and relieved to have boundaries!
- Whether visiting friends/family or hosting yourself, everyone bringing a plate or pot luck is the way forward. This shares the load, everyone is happy they are contributing and no one person or family is overloaded.
Christmas is a special time of year. It is about giving but most importantly it’s about the people you are with, not spending beyond your means and having to pay for it for the next 12 months or beyond. Planning in advance and sticking to a budget should be about enjoying this time and minimising financial stress and pressure. If you are having trouble getting your finances in order, seek help, it’s never too late.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute individual financial advice. If you’re interested in receiving personalised financial advice, you can book in a consultation with an enable.me coach. Costs apply.