The decorations are up, the tree lights are blinking, and already signs are dangling off every available window with the crowd shuffling through the 50% marked off Christmas-special products. With the holiday period coming right around the corner, it’s important for families to take note on how much money is actually spent on all the festivities. Reports from research organisation Dun and Bardwell indicate that household debt levels increase during Christmas, as people are likely to rely on credit funds to cover holiday-related expenses that they otherwise can’t afford. From sharing gifts, setting up Christmas trees and decorations, and cooking delicious holiday treats, it’s not hard to see how debt can accumulate so quickly, as many people use their credit cards to get them over the line.

But you can avoid all this, by creating a solid plan that you can really stick to. With a little help from our guide below, commit yourself to a strategy by planning ahead in anticipation of all possible costs that may creep up. This guide can help every family apply themselves with a more financial focus, so that you can enjoy a lovely holiday break without the burden of debt hanging over you.

1) Start Saving Early

You’ve probably already heard that ‘it’s never too late to start saving’! For those of you who’ve put aside some funds specifically for the Christmas season, great! If you haven’t, start now! It’s already December, and it makes sense having a little extra on the side that’s allocated for your holiday needs; whether it’s for buying presents or saving up for that holiday get-away.

2) Check Your Credit Report

How often do you check your credit reports? Now might be a good time to go through your monthly statements, as it will give you a good position to plan ahead for the holiday period, and even your 2016 financial goals! Did you know that the quarter between September to December sees a high turnover of credit cards in Australian households? Know your financial limits, so you don’t overstretch yourself in purchasing anything that’s beyond your credit limit.

3) Commit To A Budget

Most families are good at making a budget, but do they really stick to it? A savings plan can help you go through gift list in an achievable and efficient manner. Plan ahead so you don’t suffer from a post-Christmas hangover. Don’t forget that you have other ongoing monthly bills along with the additional expenses for the holiday period. Make a gift list, and if you have your sight on specific products or services that you want to buy, try and find stores that match you for the lowest price!

4) Spend Within Your Means

If you know what your budget is, you should know how much you can afford to buy. Overspending on unnecessary items is often the culprit of increasing debt. If you are a part of any savings-programs, this would be a great time to redeem your reward points to exchange for gifts or vouchers.

5) Spend Cash When Shopping

You might have noticed a lot of credit card commercials popping up recently. With the convenience of ever present sales consultants and same-day applications, it’s easy to see why people resort to a new credit card to help them out during the holidays. However, it’s best to avoid credit cards so you don’t spend the first few months of the New Year paying it off. Try to minimise your credit card spending, and try and take advantage of any lay-by specials shops might be offering.

 

Dealing with debt and financial issues are potentially sensitive topics, so should be handled with care. If you ever need to surround yourself with reliable support, and a team that offers trusted and competent advice, seek the opinion of a professional, who will be able to properly guide you and give you clear steps to follow. Call DebtFix and see how we can help, as we have helped so many others in our time. Call our expert team on 1300 332 834, or send us an online message by clicking here.