Planning ahead to start saving and budgeting for any purchases you want to make for the holidays might help reduce stress and overspending.
1. Do some number crunching
Take some time to think about who you want to buy presents for and what you want to buy. It'll give you an idea how much you might need to spend.
Think back to last year and how much you spent - or overspent - and use that as a guide.
Factor in 'forgotten' costs that might include:
- Postal charges for parcels and cards
- Batteries, wrapping, sticky tape
- Train and bus 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 list is something to consider.
2. Set a savings goal
You can track your debit and credit card spending in the CommBank app. See how much you can save with our savings calculator, set up regular transfers to keep you on track, or create a savings goal in NetBank.
It'll help you to:
- 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 website, most Australians who set a Christmas budget do stick to it.
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?
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. It's important to:
- Calculate your household expenses including outgoings, such as upcoming bills
- Make sure you have enough to cover regular payments, including 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 early might help make gift shopping and holiday arrangements a lot more fun and reduce the likelihood of a major dent in your finances as you head into the new year.