5 tips to an amazing Christmas without the financial hangover

Set a spending limit – we tend to be so busy and often the year passes in the blink of an eye. By the time we get to the end of the year we will pay just about anything to get through the holiday season. We also feel a little guilty that perhaps we have not spent as much time with our loved ones and try and compensate with expensive gifts to show our love.

Making a list and checking it twice, works for Santa and works for the busy person preparing for Christmas. The list helps maintain the agreed spending limit and makes you think twice about buying something that you do not really need. Think about this… how often have you just seen something that you never knew existed before and now you find that you absolutely cannot live without and then buy it. To make it worse it ends up on the nature strip in 12 moths time with a sign, free to good home!

Gift giving Don’t buy everyone gift. A simple and fun way is to do a Secret Santa gift giving game. Swap, steal or unwrap is a hilarious Christmas gift giving game. Each person brings one gift to the value of a specified amount. You need a dice and for each number on the dice, you assign an instruction of swap, steal or unwrap. Start rolling the dice and you will have your whole party laughing so hard that they will remember the day for years to come.

Lay By – this used to be a really good way of buying gifts and spreading the cost over a number of weeks leading up to Christmas. The modern-day version of this is now take the goods a pay later… BIG TRAP. Most of these transactions are now a credit contract, which means that they are a loan. The impact for people will be when they go to borrow in the future, say for a car or personal loan and they have three or more of these transactions in a short space of time, their credit score is often halved and can lead to their loan being declined.

Share the love with the food preparation– if you are hosting Christmas this year, enrol lots of other family members to help cook and prepare a special dish. Food that is cooked with love always enhances the feel of the day. Ask the more senior members of the family to bring that special dish with the recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. Ask the younger generation to prepare a dish with latest modern twist on traditional recipes. You will find that the day is far less stressful for you as the host because you are now one of a team of people preparing food and the cost is dramatically reduced as it is now spread over several people.

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