What, it’s December? Already? Geez the year has gone by quickly. And yes, Christmas is just around the corner, T -17 days to gatherings, presents, merry making, Christmas crackers and the flurry of excuses to indulge in all the foods and beverages.
As we go about all these, we find ourselves coming out the other end going, “Wow, spent quite a bit this Christmas. Should really budget better next year”, but we don’t end up doing it and just stay in this seemingly unavoidable loop of spending too much.
Therefore, let’s do it differently this year. I’ve come up with a few pointers on how to spend wisely and reduce the impact on the wallet.
1. Create a Christmas Budget
Whilst budget is mentioned often, creating it is more important than just mentioning it. Creating a budget gives you the full picture of the impact of your spending. Also, a buffer and limit gives you both the freedom and restriction you need. If your budget is $100, create a buffer of $20 and look for something in the $80 range. That way if you have expensive taste like I do and grab the $94.99 item, it’s all good. Be sure to list down everything that you may require from gifts and cards, to decorations and part food and drinks.
2. Keep track of your spending
Keeping within a budget may be hard at times. Catering for 50 people may have cost only $750 for a birthday in May but is significantly more over Christmas. It is understandable that there are some things you don’t want to cut corners on because they are a trusted source like a catering company, but we don’t want to be financially strapped in January or worse, be suffering the financial burden for months to come. Therefore, buffers and keeping track of your spend helps to visualise the entire picture, especially in this cashless society we transact in.
3. Do your homework
Impulse purchases are the viruses of budgets (okay I’m coining that). Firstly, the novelty of these items fizzes out quite quickly. Next, in this digital age that we live in, we suddenly realise we could have saved had we purchased it online. Therefore, to avoid this, always check online before purchasing items in stores. Especially during the Christmas season, there are lots of discounts and coupons online that one can capitalise on.
4. Get in early
Whilst it is too late for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, it is something to keep an eye out for next year. This is the Friday the day after thanksgiving, and the following Monday. Getting a list done late October / early November can amount to immense savings on your Christmas gift shopping. If you’ve missed out on these, try shopping during non-peak hours and capitalising on mid-week sales. Stores restock their shelves before the weekend so get in early before they are all gone.
5. Christmas next year
A commonly used sales tactic is bundling and volume sales. If you require only 10 Christmas cards but can get them cheaper (per card) if you bought 20, then go with 20 and save the spares for next year. Same goes for wrapping paper and other consumables. Also, would some gifts be suitable as a birthday present for someone early in the year? If so, get them and save yourself the money, time and pain of having to source something out again. It’s the thought that counts. At the end of the day, savings now or later is still savings.
I hope this helps reduce the impact on your wallet this Christmas. We have come up with a simple Christmas Budget in excel on this page and on the previous screen, which you are welcome to use. Merry Christmas!
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Author: Akash Devasar & Co. | We speak numbers | https://www.adevasar.com