Avoid the Financial Hangover this Christmas

We’ve all seen the ads on TV – ‘buy this, buy that’- ridiculously priced gifts topped with crayfish and prawns for the family feast. The pressure is on to make it the ‘best Christmas ever’.

But at what personal financial price do we try to achieve this kudos?

Only too soon after the gifts are unwrapped, and the unmistakable odour of crustacean shells baking in the bins have disappeared, the reality of overspending hits home. Hard.

Regardless of whether you overspent cash or maxed the credit card, the end result doesn’t differ. Pretty soon the overdue bills arrive and you spend the first few months of the New Year recovering from a financial hangover that lingers and hurts way longer than those tequila shots you enjoyed welcoming in previous new years.

All this can be avoided with a little planning and a few simple ideas and key advice, even at this late stage.

PLAN

Okay, so we may already be in the ‘last minute Christmas ideas’ zone according to advertising, despite there still being a good few weeks before the big ‘YoHoHo’ arrives.

It’s never too late to plan! And a late plan is better than no plan.  If you haven’t already, it’s high time to get your arrangements together.

Do your homework. Where will you shop – online or in-store?

What do you need to cater for? How many and what exactly? Just gifts or are you feeding the masses for one of the day’s excessive feasts?

Once you’ve wrapped your head around this concept, it’s time to progress to the next step.

LIST

Lists are imperative to being organised, regardless of the occasion.

Make a list of all the people you need to buy presents for, what you intend to purchase and where from. Don’t forget the cost associated. The same goes for food, alcohol and decorations.

BUDGET

This is the most important thing to adhere to when aiming to avoid financial stress over the silly season.

Set your budget and divide this by the number of pay cycles you will have before Christmas. Be strict. If you can, avoid using credit cards.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement and Yuletide extravagance. You’ll pay for it later.