16 weeks till Christmas – are you ready?

Christmas day is 16 weeks from Monday (the 4th of September).

Now that this has horrified you, you should be wondering about what you are going to do for Christmas and the spending for it.

Most people tend to overspend at Christmas, on presents and food and usually this goes on credit cards. If you do this, you spend much of the following year paying back the overspend and paying a bunch of interest.

This happens due to lack of planning for Christmas and what you are going to spend.

In the counselling work I do, it tends to dry up in November and December as people don’t want to be told what they can and cannot afford before Christmas.

But in February once the holidays have worn off, I get a lot of people coming in to get help to fix what they did.

Many people will think there is no time to plan for Christmas without borrowing, but there is.

If you get paid this week, you have 8 pay days before Christmas, so have time to save something.

Firstly, work out how much extra you want for food, and for entertainment. If you don’t have the supermarket stamps plan going, then you need to get this in cash. So, let’s assume $200 for extra food etc.

Then let’s look at presents.

Work out who gets a present and what amount each person gets spent on them.

If it’s you, your partner and two kids let’s assume $100 a person, so that’s $400.

Then if we have 8 grandparents, cousins etc, let’s go with $50 each, another $400.

All up this is $1000 needed between now and Christmas.

This equates to $125 a fortnight payday from, this week till Christmas.

Now if you have a smaller or larger family, are travelling or hosting people, your situation will be different.

But whatever it is, sit down and plan it out, work out the total you need and then how much you need to put aside each pay.

If you cannot free up the money to do this, you need to cut the amount you are going to spend, maybe great Auntie Muriel who no one likes and never talks to you anyway, does not get a present?

Then you simply must stick to your limit.

Next year, to make it easier, start this plan in January, you won’t need to save anywhere near as much.

You will find that this makes Christmas much less stressful, and reduces the post-Christmas blues as you realise you overspent.

This is just one step towards taking control of your finances, staying out of debt, and helping yourself to build wealth for the future.

BlogAlan Borthwick