How to be financially prepared this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, here are 5 tips to help plan ahead and avoid a financial hangover on New Year’s Day.

Think back to last Christmas and consider where the extra expenses came from. Was it petrol for the drive to the holiday destination? Gifts for new children in the extended family? Wine for the constant gatherings? And don’t forget the taxi fares for the journeys home from nights out.

However you look at it, Christmas is a pricey time of year. If the expense causes stress then the holiday period is ruined. Here are some tips to prepare for, and enjoy Christmas.

 
Figure out a budget

What exactly are you going to spend on gifts, food, drink, accommodation, airfares, fuel, cabs etc.? Be realistic and even pessimistic. If you over-prepare then you’ll end up with a surplus, which is a great result.

Christmas saver

Consider opening a new account which you can put a weekly amount into over the next few months in order to cover most, if not all, of your Christmas expenses. Even better, if you have a mortgage account, consider putting the extra money into the redraw section - that way you could save some mortgage interest during the final quarter of the year.

Gifts

Figure out what you are happy to spend on each person and ensure you stick to it. Give yourself time to think about gifts, working out exactly what each person will receive, to keep your shopping trips short and avoid extra purchases. And negotiate with family members to stick below a certain amount, or to do Secret Santa, in order to keep costs down.

Credit card spending

From now until Christmas, make additional weekly payments onto your credit card so you’re not caught out, as many people are, with an unmanageable credit card debt once you roll into January.

New year goal

Figure out what you wish for in the New Year and start taking steps towards that goal right now. Whether it is a fitness goal, a new skill, a bucket list item or something as simple as a reunion with an old friend, make sure at least a small part of the Christmas period is about you by planning for and achieving something special.

Speak to us for more information

If you have any questions, please call SMART Financial Planning for Life on 03 5911 7000.

Important information
This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ‘Count’ and Count Wealth Accountants® are trading names of Count. Count advisers are authorised representatives of Count. Count is a Professional Partner of the Financial Planning Association of Australia Limited. Information in this document is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, as at 26 June 2017, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws, rulings and their interpretation and may be subject to change. You should seek professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information. Should you wish to opt out of receiving direct marketing material from your adviser, please notify your adviser by email, phone or in writing.

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