Christmas can be the spendiest time of the year. But it doesn't have to be. Our friends at Money Sweetspot have shared some tips on how to enjoy Christmas without clocking up debt or spending more than you need to.
1. Food: Christmas stocking (up)
- Think what you’ll need for Christmas celebrations and start looking for it now – not the day before.
- Buy stuff close to best before and freeze if you can.
- Shop Monday and Thursday nights. Frozen meat, chicken etc will always be better buying than fresh.
2. Be present with presents
- Team up to buy one great thing for mum, grandad, etc
- Vouchers or IOUs for post-Christmas sales
- Secret Santa Must Die! [editor's note - unless it's a Good Gift Card from The Good Registry!]
3. Holiday activities
- Research stuff to do locally or where you’re going now… make the planning a fun family thing
- Write down each on a piece of paper and take turns pulling one out on the day / night before
- Pay for the action, not the extras… picnic, fruit, drinks with you rather than getting gouged at the beach or zoo
4. Cards and wrap is not all that
- There’s nothing good about spending big bucks on paper wrapping that’s just going to end up in landfill.
- Use free wrapping in malls or stores when you can or even better, reusable totes, beach bags, etc that won’t get thrown out or can be part of the gift. Bring back Santa sacks!
- Cards: design your own now, then print them out on the office printer when the boss is at lunch. A great family photo is WAY better than a picture of a snowy village.
5. Be connected for free
- Make a point of scheduling video calls with distant friends and rellies using free apps like Whatsapp, Facetime and Facebook Messenger.
- If you’ve got unlimited internet you can even prop the phone up at the end of the Christmas dinner table and get them to join you! Or get your tech-savvy teen on the job in advance to hook up a laptop or phone to your TV for a big-screen get-together.
BONUS TIP: Spend money on family, not money on money
Living in the real world means sometimes you will end up borrowing money at Christmas time, but taking a minute to think about what it really costs will leave you with more in your pocket to spend on the good stuff! Using debt for Christmas can leave a nasty debt hangover for your New Year. When you pay credit card interest, get interest free credit with fees attached or let buy now pay later payments slip, you’re spending money on money! That’s less money left to spend on family, whether it’s presents, food or holiday activities.
*Money Sweetspot workings alongside everyday New Zealanders to put them back in charge of their finances - helping them to get out of debt and on with life. What's even sweeter is that everyone who commits to their financial reset with Money Sweetspot has the opportunity to give a hand up to their wider community too - with money to donate to charitable causes that they choose through The Good Registry.