One of the dangers of this time of year, or any time of year, is that you can completely derail your financial goals and create yourself a lot of money stress if you aren’t careful.
The festive season is a money landmine that requires planning and consideration to ensure you enjoy the fun without creating a stressful money outcome that you regret when it gets to January.
I want to give you some tips on how to manage your money in the festive season to make it as enjoyable as possible, no matter your financial means.
The key to getting through the festive season is to have a plan, and the tips I will outline for you below are the basis of a plan that not only can be used in the festive season but can also be applied to the rest of the year.
These are tips that form the foundation for positive money habits, which is what we are trying to develop for long term gains, agree?
5 Money Tips for Any Season
1. Pay Yourself First
This might seem like a strange tip to start with, but as you know, the key to creating wealth is to ensure you put some money aside each pay period to use for wealth creation purposes. Your financial freedom account.
At this time of year it is easy to forget to pay yourself first and use that money for other purposes.
In forming good money habits you want to make sure that this is one habit that you not only have, but you don’t break it just because it is the season to be jolly.
Put some money aside in your financial freedom account and don’t touch it this festive season.
2. Create a Money Plan
Now this is not the time to debate the merits of budgeting as a tool. There are many arguments for and against budgeting… I hate them though.
But for the festive season, if you want to ensure you don’t overspend, you need to take the time to sit down and create a money plan.
To make it more fun, do it with your partner or with friends.
Make the money plan process something that you share with others, not only will it take the pressure out of the process, but it can create some accountability at the same time.
Letting others know that you have a budget and having them help you create it will make the process easier and more likely to be realistic…
3. Make a list. And check it twice
When it comes to shopping, there are many hidden traps designed to get you to spend more than you planned.
Impulse buying is one of the worst spending traps during the festive season…
And it can be a particular problem if you’re one of those shoppers who can’t resist the temptations, especially if it is something for yourself.
Making a list is a great way to stay focused on buying only what you need.
Take a sensible approach and make a list of everyone you need to buy for… you can use google play’s Christmas gift list to record your work.
Once you know who you are buying for make an estimate of how much you want to spend on each person.
Now here is the tough part… compare your total estimate with your budget, that is, the amount you determined in tip two that you have available to spend.
If there you have estimated more than your budget, find some ways to cut back to your budget.
4. Know Your Limits
This is where the final part of tip three becomes crucial…
At this time of year, it is common for people to use credit to pay for presents and everything else that goes with the festive celebrations.
It is important to know your limits…
If you are going to use credit, which is not recommended, but in some cases, I understand it is necessary, then you MUST know your limits, you must know what you can afford to pay.
Spending too much on credit is where the stress comes into the equation.
You don’t want to get to January and be in a position where you can’t pay off the credit card.
There is a lot of media attention on the January credit card statement dread! Just watch the breakfast shows or nightly news…
Avoid this drama by knowing what you can manage, understanding your budget and sticking to your limits.
5. Online Shopping – Naughty but Nice!!!
Now this might be a little controversial, but I am going to recommend you consider doing as much of your shopping online as you can.
Now before you think I’ve gone mad, here is the reason why…
I mentioned at the start that there are many traps that shops create to get you to spend more. One of the ways to avoid these traps is to avoid the shops, that is, shop online. Boom!
Now of course there are potential traps online as well, but if you have been following the tips above, you will have your list, know your budget and by going online you can do some research, find the best price and buy what you need without getting caught by the shiny object syndrome as you stroll the shopping centre aisles.
The other hidden benefit of shopping online, well it’s not that hidden really, is you don’t have to fight for a car park, don’t have to deal with the crowds, you can save spending on lunch or snacks while shopping and best of all will save you lots of valuable time.
Imagine how less stressed you will feel… no really, imagine it now.
Use the power of the internet and social media to find the bargains, special offers and discount coupons that are often available online.
This could be a way to stretch you money that little bit further…
So there you have 5 tips for the festive season to help you avoid stress and an unwanted debt burden at the start of 2017.
These simple steps are forming good money habits that you can take with you into 2017. Let’s make 2017 the year you take control of your money and build toward financial freedom with confidence and clarity.
Let me know in the comments below what your favourite tip is, and how you are going to apply them to your plans for this season.