Do you find that you experience financial stress at this time of year, every year?
Whilst Christmas season is generally a time for celebration and enjoyment, it can unfortunately also become a time of stress and anxiety. Financial stress is widespread and growing, and is a leading cause of stress in Australians. During the festive season we can feel under increasing pressure to spend, rely more on credit, and tend to put off thinking about the consequences.
This year try some easy tips so you can enjoy Christmas without the financial stress:
- Prepare a budget – start with the amount you will actually have available to spend, after all of your usual costs. Decide what you need to spend money on, and what you don’t. Marry up the two, do you have less money than what you plan to spend?
- Create a spending plan – include entertainment, gifts, travel, decorations, telephone costs, social gatherings – and align that to your budget. Break down your spending week by week. Once you have your spending plan stick with it!
- Avoid temptation – don’t shop when you feel hungry, tired or emotionally vulnerable as these are all times when you are likely to overspend. If you are considering buying something that is not on your spending plan, ask yourself whether you really need it and whether you can really afford it?
- Pay for as many purchases with cash, rather than credit – cash is always the safest option. Only spend what you have. If you decide to use credit, ensure you’re able to pay it off as quickly as you can. This is not the time of year to increase your credit limit or apply for new cards.
- Create a low cost gift, that is still great – Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Consider offering your services for babysitting, prepare a meal for someone, hand make a gift, frame a photograph. By connecting with your creative side, you will save your bank balance, and be surprised at the response you receive. Your gift that has taken personal energy and thought, rather than just an investment will be appreciated.
Remember that not only are the best things in life free, the best things in life are generally not things. People appreciate thought and time more than you think.