Summer lovin’ doesn’t have to have you a-blasting your credit card or cash reserves. It can be the most incredible time of the year, and it is possible to survive Christmas and summer financially in excellent shape.
Think of this as a message from your conscience to get you through the next few weeks in one piece.
1) Be prepared. There’s no point being surprised it’s Christmas in a week!
It’s on the 25th December every year, we know that it’s coming, so get organised. Even if you’ve done nothing up until today, it’s not too late.
Start with writing down a list.
Who do you need to get presents for? Write down every person you need to buy for, write down roughly what you’d like to spend on them, and perhaps one or two items that you might like to get that person as a gift.
Then, see if you can group it together in shops, so you can go to just a couple of stores and tackle it all at once.
When you head into the shops armed with your plan, you’re far less likely to overspend or buy crap that your loved ones don’t want or need. Perhaps you can also shift your resources to spend more on the people you absolutely love to pieces (and cut back on the obligatory pressies!)
2) Don’t be lazy.
You’ve written down a budget for every gift, so don’t just grab the first thing that you see. Be prepared to rifle through the racks.
Find something that fits, and don’t just buy something full price or because it’s 5% off. Be ready to hustle and make sure you stick to that budget!
The other area that people get themselves into trouble with over December and summer, isn’t just Christmas and gifts, it’s going out.
3) Get prepared. Again.
Write down a list of all the events that you’re looking to attend over the summer period:
Christmas and holiday dinners and drinks
Australia Day functions
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Day
Write them all down and really think about what you have on. What’s important? What are you going to just because “it’s Christmas and that’s what you do!”?
If there’s crap in there, cut it out. Don’t go, or go but don’t spend too much. Get the train there instead of an Uber.
“Don’t buy 20 drinks hoping you’ll magically turn it into a great event. Have a fabulous night out on the waters”
So: look at what’s there, look at what’s really important, and work out what you are prepared to chop. What’s really going to make it an awesome summer?
Once you’ve got that, you can start coming up with a plan to pay for it all.
4) Start compromising.
For instance, if you’ve got five dinners between now and Christmas, do you really need to buy yourself a new outfit for Christmas day? Maybe that’s the compromise you’re prepared to make.
You know you want to catch up with your friends, but instead of going out for brunch, could you go for coffee and a walk around the Tan as a way to see them and keep money in check?
I can guarantee most people are feeling exactly the same, if you suggest that walking option, they’ll take it. And it burns off a few calories 😉
5) Most importantly, do not write this month off.
It’s not like when you open a bag of Doritos and you feel like the only way to make it stop is to finish them off. You have the power of controlling this summer. This summer does not have to be a write off where it’s assumed you’ll spend all of your cash and possibly even go into debt.
That is not normal, it is not acceptable, and it’s not business as usual. It’s a choice that you make.
You can survive Christmas and summer financially. And if you can stay in control through December, you’re putting yourself in the best position to reach your goals in January. You’re basically starting on those goals today and giving yourself the best chance of success.
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.