I never learn. Every flippin’ year, it’s the same thing! Christmas sneaks up on me like the cheeky-mc-sneaky-holiday it is and reminds me how unorganized I have been. This year is a little different because we are abandoning all family responsibility, hopping on a jet plane and heading to NYC. And although we are saving on gifts, travel and a small investment in Dan Murphy’s, we’re also spending up in another way. A holiday!
I’m a giver, I love giving and as one of my besties recently told me, “Bree, you’re love language is doing and giving. You love showing people you care by doing things for them”. The only problem is, my gratuitous ‘love language’ puts me in a big red hole over the festive season. Since my debt cleanse almost 6 years ago, I’ve gotten better at spending this time of year but sometimes the lack of self-control takes over and I find myself ordering personalized stationary, and organising styled and coordinated gift wrapping. Stop, just stop!
That’s why I’m here as your digital elf to help you curb the Christmas cravings and avoid the spending hangover. And whilst I won’t be indulging in the Christmas festivities down under, I couldn’t leave y’all without sharing a few budget tips…
Make a list and check it twice (because I bet you haven’t heard that enough times)! Making a list of the gifts you would like to buy and supplies you need for a holiday season is a must. Having a list certainly doesn’t preclude you from sticking to a budget but it does help you to see what is really needed and what is considered as excess. If you’re traveling, you may also want to include these plans too. I’m a list-maker – luuuuurve a good list – so this is one step I live by every day, even when it’s not the festive season.
Take your scrooge tendencies and apply them to your Christmas shopping – it is so easy to get carried away at the shops, just ask my credit card. The key is to be a robot and ignore all marketing, all advertising and pretend like the shops don’t exist. Easy right, wrong! Christmas is the hardest time of year for any reformed shopaholic, so here’s what you need to do –
Got a favourite brand? Check their website and social media for a discount, coupon or special. Gone are the days of only finding a special on boxing day, retail has gone mad with deals. You just need to do the research to find the right one for your perfect gift.
Where possible (and where your family allows – we can’t ignore the traditionalists), implore your family or friends to take part in a secret-santa-type-effort-thingy. It’s hard to convert the old guard of Christmas present givers, but this really is a life AND money saver. By putting a limit on the amount each person can spend on a gift, you’re also saving hundreds of $$$ in wasteful, token gifts that are just going to end up in the bin and deplete your holiday cashlings.
Re-use wrapping paper people, they won’t know the difference! You can also use the same paper to create cards or Christmas tags – cheap and quick. Let’s be honest, any fancy or matchy-matchy gift wrap ends up as balls of rubbish that Dad is cleaning up before Uncle Mike has passed out and you’re onto your second fight with mum.
If you’re hosting Christmas Day, don’t be afraid to delegate. More often than not, people who are left to host, cook and entertain are also left with a big fat f-off bill at the end too. When it’s family, give them jobs and let them contribute to the overall running of the day. Whether it’s booze, the ham, the pudding or nibbles, make sure you delegate, delegate, delegate.
Do you have any gift cards from birthdays with few dollars on them you could use toward a gift? Go hunting people, I found at least $15 on old gift cards lying around in drawers and old purses.
Have you tried heading to the shops outside of peak hour so you’re not bullied or rushed into buying things and stuff you don’t need or want? Give it a go, you might find the extra time and less shoulder-pushing makes for a more pleasant and inexpensive shopping trip. I’m sure there’s some psychology research out there to support this, I’m just not going to go looking for it. Besides you probs don’t care!
Christmas is stressful, there’s no doubt about that. Therefore finding ways to potentially alleviate some of this unnecessary pain is worth the time investment. And even after you read this, I’m sure there’s going to be another relative who invites themselves to your Christmas lunch or a friend who’s managed to guilt you into buying a gift for their kid. We’ve all been there and it’s inevitable.
Fearless Female Traders