Budgeting | Personal Finance | Article
How to Get Through the Festive Season with Your Finances Intact
by The Simple Sum Team | 14 Dec 2022 | 6 mins read
This article is brought to you by foodpanda
The year-end festive season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. With Christmas and New Year’s around the corner, you get to let your hair down and celebrate with family and friends. Along with dinners and parties, gift giving is also a much-loved tradition this time of the year.
With all the festivities, it can be so easy to get carried away with our spending, completely forsake our budgets, and spend beyond our means. For some, it can even be a stressful time as there are a lot of things to do and spend on during this period.
One way to prevent the stress and excitement from getting to you (and your budget) is to go into the holiday season prepared and with a plan. So, to help you stay on top of your budget, here are some things to keep in mind as you gear up for the festive season.
1. Create a list and start prioritising based on your budget
When it comes to creating a list for Christmas, most people only think about the gifts they want to buy and they often neglect to include the social events that will also undoubtedly eat into their budgets.
So, in making your wish list, jot down all the gifts you’re thinking of getting, and all the parties and dinners that you’re thinking of hosting or going to. Then, estimate how much everything will cost. You can even categorise each item based on social groups – family, friends, colleagues, and so on.
To match your festive spend to your budget, you can run through the wish list and highlight what you really want to prioritise based on what you can afford. For instance, you may want to host dinners for your family, friends, and colleagues but your budget only allows for two Christmas dinners instead of three. So, you may have to cull the Christmas gathering with your co-workers to stick to your budget. Sorry, co-workers!
By doing this simple exercise, you can look forward to enjoying your year-end bash without worrying about overspending.
2. Scour for discounts and additional savings
There are plenty of sales leading up to the festive season. Since you’ve already planned for what you need to buy, you can then zero in on the deals and discounts that can stretch your dollar even further.
For instance, you can stack vouchers with your cashback card for gifts that you intend to get delivered to your home. And if you’re less inclined to cook, you can always have your Christmas gathering meals delivered from your favourite restaurants and use a subscription service to save on your food orders and deliveries. This can be an easy and affordable option when you’re budgeting a festive lunch in the office or throwing a party at home.
3. Don’t shop at the last minute
With so much happening during the festive season, some of us may leave our shopping for gifts and meals to the last minute.
This often leads to rash decisions and overspending as you may end up buying the wrong item at a high price that will hurt your budget. In fact, some things get more expensive as the holidays draw closer as a surge of last-minute shoppers try to get their hands on what they can for their own celebrations. This is especially common when shopping for food items for the festive season.
Having your pre-determined shopping list and budget ready early will help you avoid making this holiday spending blunder. What’s more, many brands and F&B outlets also offer discounts for early purchases so it makes money sense to shop earlier and make your meal reservations during the promotional periods.
4. Make your own presents and meals
A simple way to stretch your budget or save money is to make your own present instead of buying from a store. Just think of it as a craft project, which can be both fun and says how much you really care about the person who is receiving your handmade gift.
And instead of braving the crowds at malls and eateries for Christmas dinner, getting your groceries delivered, donning an apron and getting behind the stove also allows you to share your love through homemade festive meals without busting your budget or even having to leave the house!
5. Track your festive spending
Although this may seem “kiasu”, it doesn’t harm your wallet or purse to double check your festive season spending, as you go.
Some easy to-dos include checking receipts to make sure you are charged the correct amount in store, tallying your bills at the end of the day and doing a quick scan of your online bank account or credit card account to check that each spend is correct. At the end of the day, you know what the total looks like so you’re within your budget.
6. Avoid the temptation of taking on debt
Although you have created your shopping list and budget, the myriad of promotions and offers during the festive season may attract you to spend beyond your means.
With options like Buy Now Pay Later, and other installment plans so easily accessible, it can be tempting to add more things to your cart than you initially intended and tell yourself that it’s okay to pay it off later in the new year.
The flipside to this is that you’ll have a much higher credit card bill for several months in the new year. And in the event that you’re late paying off your bill, you’ll be slapped with late payment fees and interest on your debt. Not a great way to kick off the new year. Plus, who knows what other expenses may crop up in the new year that you’ve not budgeted for?
Rather than put yourself through that hassle, try to stick to your list and the budget you’ve set for yourself. That way you can ring in the new year on a right note, financially.
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