Summer is well on its way and with it comes holidays, Christmas and good times with friends and family, but this can also be an expensive time for many.
With enough planning and financial discipline, you can enjoy the season without breaking the bank or missing repayments. The goal is to ensure you spend less than you make and focus your spending on what matters most to you. We’ve put together some of our top tips to help you survive the Christmas season and keep your budget on track this summer:
1. Track your spending
In order to effectively budget, you first need to know where your money is being spent. Track every dollar you spend for at least a week to get an accurate picture of what you are spending, and more importantly, what you are spending it on.
2. Where can you tighten up?
Now you know what you are spending your money on, you can identify some categories where you can perhaps tighten up. Do you need that coffee every day? Can you bring your lunch to work and save that way? Do you really need to go out every weekend? The key areas that people overspend are in entertainment, dining out, buying clothes and gadgets – and more often than not, it’s because they are unaware of exactly how much they are spending in these categories.
3. Save first
Set a savings goal, and save first before you spend. Rather than saving what is left over at the end of the month, save first and spend the rest. Consider your monthly savings a financial commitment.
4. Budget early for Christmas
Christmas is approaching fast and before you know it, you will be splurging on gifts for loved ones. Plan ahead and work out how much you want to spend on each person and what you want to buy. This will help avoid last minute gifts, which usually results in spending more than you intended.
Budgeting doesn’t just apply to gifts, it also applies to your Christmas parties and entertainment. Again, it’s all about determining how much you’re willing to and can spend.
5. Set up direct debit arrangements
One of the best things about Christmas time is the number of public holidays, which means plenty of time off to hit the beach or chill at home. However, this is no time to forget to pay your bills. Arrange to have your bills auto-debited from your credit card or bank account, or set a reminder for yourself to make the payment ahead of time. This will ensure you keep your good credit rating on track, and also help you avoid hefty fees or service disruptions because of late payments.
Set a goal, plan ahead, and save! If you or someone you know would like to discuss your budget or review your loans, get in touch with one of our friendly brokers today.