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The Christmas countdown is on! 4 tips to help you save.

The Christmas countdown is on! 4 tips to help you save.

Did someone say Christmas? Here's how you can get planning so the holiday season doesn't become a drain on your finances.

1. Do some number crunching

Spend time thinking about who you want to buy presents for. And what you want to buy. It'll give you a rough idea how much you want to spend.

You could take a look at how much you spent (or over-spent) last year instead and use that as an indication of what's to come.

Factor in 'forgotten' costs like:

  • Postal charges for parcels and cards
  • Batteries, wrapping, sticky tape
  • Train and business tickets, fuel and toll charges for trips to see the family
  • Holiday childcare and Christmas activities such as photos with Santa

Having a buffer to cover last minute gifts for people not on your original gift list isn't a bad idea either.

2. Set a savings goal

You've done the number crunching. Now's the time to be disciplined about setting money aside. The smallest of sacrifices, like one less coffee a day, can really add up without you feeling too scrooge-like in the process.

Easily set up a savings goal in NetBank. It'll help you keep to your goal because you can:

  • Track your progress
  • Set up scheduled transfers from your Smart Access account into your savings account
  • Top up your goal if you get an unexpected cash windfall

According to ASIC's MoneySmart, most Australians who set a Christmas budget do stick it to.

3. Know your limit

So you've started ticking off things on your Christmas gift list and are pretty happy with what you've bought. Now's the time to take a reality check. Are you on track with your budget or in danger of blowing it on one too many Christmas treats?

And if you think there's a risk of overspending, there are options available to help, such as limiting your spend per transaction in NetBank or the CommBank app.

4. Don't neglect day-to-day expenses

Seasonal fun aside, part of budgeting for Christmas is to make sure you can keep on top of everyday living expenses. So it's important to:

  • Calculate your household expenses including outgoings like upcoming bills
  • Make sure you have enough to cover regular payments such as rent or car, credit card and home loan commitments

The final cost of Christmas doesn't have to be a big shock. Starting to save now should help make present shopping a lot more fun and reduce the liklihood of a bigger than anticipated dent in your finances as you head into the New Year.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.