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With just a few, short months until the man in the red suit makes his way down your chimney, time is running out to get your finances in check. For many Australians, the cost of Christmas can be a serious burden. From buying presents to getting together with friends and family, stocking up on food and for some, having to take unpaid leave, Christmas can be an expensive time of year. Unless you’ve got some savings stashed away to pay for it, often your credit card will bear the brunt of your festive spending spree.

So, with less than 12 weeks on the Christmas clock what steps can you take to potentially lighten the load?

 

Make a plan and check it twice

Thinking seriously about what you need to buy and setting a budget can really help to kerb what you spend. List out who you’re buying presents for and set a spending limit. With time on your side, you have the luxury of shopping around on items to get the best price. If you’re buying a number of items from a department store, you may opt to use their layby service and pay off your purchases over the coming weeks. If you choose to use a buy now, pay later service make sure you read the fine print to avoid paying additional fees and charges.

If you are trying to reduce what you spend this year, consider talking to friends and family members in advance to set gift giving expectations. Blowing out your budget a week before Christmas with tit-for-tat present buying is never a good idea. Suggest getting together for a meal or coffee instead of swapping gifts or put forward the idea to adopt a secret-Santa style approach.

 

Start spreading Christmas cheer early

Starting your gift buying early means that you can spread out the cost over a longer duration. If you have your list and can start making purchases from October, not only will you be more organised when Christmas rolls around but you will have the luxury of avoiding the last-minute Christmas rush.

 

Let it go

Have you looked through your possessions lately? Do you have items that you no longer use or need? Like most Australians, chances are you have accumulated a lot of stuff over the past year, especially if you have a large family.

Take some time to declutter your unwanted goods and sell it for extra cash. Whether it’s an old-fashioned garage sale, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, buy and sell Facebook groups or consignment stores, swapping your unwanted items for cash will only help your back pocket this Christmas.

 

Make some extra cash

If you have the capacity to pull some extra hours at work in the lead up to Christmas or can juggle a casual position, it might be a practical avenue to make some extra cash. Many retailers advertise for Christmas casual positions and online platforms such as Mad Paws, Zoom2u, Uber, Food4u, Freelancer and Airtasker are a growing avenue for people wanting a side hustle.

 

 

Looking for some financial advice in the lead up to Christmas? Chat to our team about booking a free, financial planning consultation. Contact us on (07) 4632 1966 or complete our online form.