Preparing Your Budget for the Holiday Season

October 10th, 2018

It might seem too early to start thinking about this year’s Christmas budget, but if you’re looking for a stress-free holiday season (and leftover money in the wallet) now is the best time to start (We can help with a holiday loan).

Australians spend an average of $955 over the holiday season, leaving many people both financially and emotionally drained. However, it’s possible to celebrate the holiday season while still being sensible with your finances.

To avoid the Christmas spending splurge, here are some tips as well as last-minute Christmas gifts that won’t have you re-gifting socks and Lynx deodorant!

Tips to save money this Christmas

1. Make a zero-based budget

The concept of a zero-based budget is simple; income minus outgo equals zero. The goal of this type of budget is to know where every dollar is going. All expenses must be justified and approved each month in order to create a more transparent way of budgeting and keeping track of your spending.

Here are a few steps to help you set up your budget:

  • Write down your monthly income and expenses: This list should include all paychecks, small-business income, cash in hand, residual income, and so on. Once you have this figure, proceed to write a list of your monthly expenses. Before the month begins, list down every expense you know is coming your way. This includes groceries, petrol, bills, and rent. Because this can vary month-to-month, you should make a new spending plan at the start of each month.
  • Write down your extra expenses: Begin looking ahead to the Christmas season and start stashing away extra money bit by bit so that it doesn’t hit you all at once come holiday season time (we’re here to help with xmas cash loans to keep your season jolly). Take into account gifts, holiday food & drinks, decorations, gift wrap, Christmas cards, etc.
  • Subtract your income from your expenses to equal zero: Ideally, at the end of the month your income and expenses should balance out and equal zero. If they don’t, try not to panic. It takes practice. But whatever you do, don’t spend anything that isn’t accounted for.

2. Track your spending

You may need the help of other resources to get you to stick to your budget and track your finances. Most banks now offer a goal-saving tool that automatically deducts a fixed amount from your spending account into your savings account. This is a great way of putting aside extra money for Christmas without even having to think twice about it.

Another way to track your spending is by using ASIC’s MoneySmart’s TrackMySPEND app. Using this app, you can nominate a spending limit for different types of Christmas expenses as well as track your spending.

3. Organise your schedule in advance

It’s easy to know how much you’ll be required to do at Christmas time if you know what the schedule is. Speak with all relevant family members and determine what is where, who is providing what, and confirming the other small details that could end up costing you a lot in the long run.

Now that you know what’s needed, you can make the appropriate purchases in advance as per the next tip.

4. Start stocking up now

If you know that you’ll be hosting this year’s Christmas dinner, begin putting aside supplies now. This includes decorations, paper cups, plates, as well as any food & drinks that can be stored until the day. Try scouring online or at a Christmas warehouse for cheap deals and prices. Buying all of your Christmas supplies now will save you time and money, as demand and prices increase closer to the holidays.

5. Get creative with gifts

Consider buying second-hand gifts. According to a Gumtree survey, 65% of Australians say they would be happy receiving a second-hand gift at Christmas.

You would be surprised at what you can find at op-shops and thrift stores. Other ideas for cheap Christmas gift ideas include going to your local market and picking up something handmade, as well as making your own Christmas gifts!

Here are some quick, easy, and affordable small gift ideas:

Need help over the holiday season? Nimble it!

If the holiday season is shaping up to be more expensive than you thought, don’t sweat it! Apply for a Nimble cash loan for all your Christmas-related expenses. Our smart and fast loans give you short-term finance instead of long-term problems. Apply for a christmas loan today.