Avoid the festive budget blow-out

Getting into debt at Christmas is easy to do, and can hang around for months afterwards. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Last year, according to finder.com.au [1] research four out of five credit card holders (81%) planned to pay their Chrissy debt down in three months or less, the remaining 19% will take longer than three months and one in twenty (5%) will take a year or more to pay down their balance. Not the best way to kick off a bright new year.

Here are some ways to take control of your spending during the festive season.

  1. Start with a Christmas budget. An obvious one, but having a budget could save you big time. List the essentials for your Christmas festivities and their costs. Then make a list of all the people you need to buy for and allocate an amount that you will spend on their gifts and maybe gift ideas too. Then stick to the budget.
  2. Avoid last minute shopping. Research has shown that people spend more in the last five days lead-up to Christmas. Leaving your shopping to the last minute can result in blowing your budget as you panic shop for gifts. Plan to get your shopping done by a set date. A lot less stressful too!
  3. Try using cash. It’s easy to tap your credit card and go, but if you had to hand over your hard-earned cash withdrawn from your ATM, would you still want to buy the gift? Take a minute to think about what you’re buying and how much you're spending. And don’t fall for the ‘buy now, pay later’ offers.
  4. Food and alcohol. These bills can add up when we indulge in the festivities. Make sure you spread the joy and ask friends and relatives to contribute to the Christmas cooking and BYO alcohol.
  5. Little extras can add up. There are always little extras we forgot about - more wrapping paper, an unexpected gift to buy, things for the house or holidays. Remember to include an ‘extras’ amount in your budget.
  6. Holiday travel debt. Almost four million Aussies (41%) return from their holiday travels with debt [2] resulting in lots of interest repayments. And one in ten people with credit card debt takes more than 12 months to pay it off. Holiday budget blowouts include shopping sprees, luxury accommodation, fancy restaurants, and events like sports matches or concerts. All fun holiday stuff, just make sure you don’t regret your holiday with too much debt to repay.

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[1] Finder.com.au https://www.finder.com.au/press-release-jan-2018-australians-racked-up-29-billion-in-christmas-credit-card-debt
[2] Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 2017 Most Australians will still be in debt from Christmas next Easter, Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon

Disclaimer 2018: This document has been created by Wealth Market Pty Ltd (ABN 56 128 350 112, AFSL No. 482898). It provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter. This information has been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your specific objectives, financial situation and needs.