Published at: 9/1/2016 3:27:07 PM
Christmas in July can dish up a decent serve of awesomeness with mugs of mulled wine, egg nog and roast turkey all enjoyed in a suitably chilly climate.
But the real deal – 25th December, will be here in less than six months. So while you’re warming your slippers by the fire and enjoying mid-winter Yuletide, now is the time to map out how you can set yourself up for a debt-free Christmas.
A bit of planning is worth the effort. Research by ME found one in four Australian credit card holders were still paying off last Christmas in February.The sooner you start planning for Christmas 2016, the less you’re likely to face a financial hangover in January.
Open a savings account just for Christmas
A sensible starting point is to open a savings account earmarked for Christmas. Be sure there are no fees attached, and look for a consistently good rate of interest. Online savings accounts are a useful choice here. Now, link your savings account to your everyday account so it’s easy to make regular deposits.
Take ideas from Yulefest
Next, start to draw up a spending budget. Think about what worked for you with Christmas in July. Loved the sugar-cured salmon? Add it to the budget. Not so keen on Turducken? No problem, just make an allowance for the cost of a regular turkey.
Make it easy to grow your Christmas savings
With a budget in place, you now have a better idea of how much Christmas 2016 will cost. Count down the number of pay days to 25 December and work out how much you need to save from each pay to accumulate the funds you need. Then set up an automatic funds transfer for this amount from your transaction account to your savings account . Easy right?
Build a gift hoard
There’s no need to wait until December to buy gifts. Building a Christmas stash throughout the year may make your spare bedroom look like Santa’s workshop but it spreads the cost over time. And that makes it less likely you’ll turn to high interest credit cards to complete your festive gift list. When you come across marked down items that would make great gifts, pay with cash and add it to your hoard. If you wait until after Father’s Day you may have left your run too late.
Get started today
No matter how you save for Christmas the main point is to develop a strategy and put it into action now! You may be celebrating Christmas in July today, but it won’t be long before the malls are decked with boughs of holly and your wallet becomes thinly stretched.
With your debt-free Christmas sewn up, you can enjoy a low-key run right through to the festive season. Even better, all you’ll have to worry about on Christmas day is who will do the washing up and how to serve all that leftover sugar-cured salmon on Boxing Day.