Start planning your gift list and keep your festive cash on track.
Free stuff first!
Remember, gifts don’t have to cost money – some of the most valuable presents you can give others use your time and talents instead. Gifts you can give that won’t cost you any cash include:
- Making and delivering a home cooked meal. You could even give your food a festive theme – there’s some great inspiration here and here.
- Baking cakes, cookies and treats and packaging them into cute little homemade gift boxes
- Get crafty – sew or knit crafty creations like clothes, bags or Christmas decorations
- Cleaning services – who wouldn’t love the treat of having their house cleaned?
- Walking or washing pets
- Driving friends to and from a night out so they have a designated driver
- Creating a personalised photo collage
- Hosting a fun movie night
- Free cultural events – keep an eye on your local council or media for upcoming events and plan a free night
Plan your budget – now!
- Sit down and work out if you’ve got any cash already on hand that you can put towards your gift shopping and festive season funds.
- Next, take a look at what other money you might have coming in between now and Christmas, and determine how much of that cash you’ll be able to set aside for your Christmas spending.
- Add these amounts together, and you’ve got your total Christmas budget. This is how much you can afford to spend on pressies and partying, without getting yourself into potential financial trouble.
Write your gift list
The next step is to work out exactly who you’re going to be buying gifts for, and how much you can afford to spend on each.
- Write a list of family, friends and any others that you plan to buy Christmas gifts for – like perhaps your children’s teachers, your boss, babysitter, your neighbours, and so on. Plan carefully so you don’t forget people and end up blowing your budget at the last minute.
- Using your total budget amount, split this up between all the people on your gift list, to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend on each person.
- Now this is the hard part – stick to this spending limit! Remember, going over your limit by just a few dollars here and there for each person can add up to a big budget blowout by the time you add it all up.
Honesty is the best policy
- Be upfront with your family and friends now, before everyone starts planning their shopping. Explain that you need to stick with a strict budget this year, and encourage them to do the same. This way everyone knows there’s no pressure for lavish or expensive gifts. You’ll probably find most people are in the same boat, and are more than happy to set a spending limit.
- Why not suggest a Kris Kringle? Instead of everyone in your family or friendship circle buying for and exchanging gifts with one another, create a lucky dip draw so that you each buy a gift for one other person. Not only does it take away the budget pressure, you’ll also have a lot less running around and shopping to do!
- If Kris Kringle isn’t your thing, you could consider group gifts where appropriate. For example, get together with your brothers and sisters to buy your parent’s Christmas gift, or suggest that everyone in your child’s class puts in a few dollars each to get one nice gift for the teacher, instead of you each buying them a separate present.
- Don’t forget the layby option! Take advantage of today’s sales and grab your gifts now, pop them onto layby and make small payments between now and Christmas.
You’re only limited by your imagination! Think about what your family and friends love most and enjoy doing. And remember, Christmas is meant to be all about fun and being together. So start planning now, and keep your festive season fun and your budget on track!