Ok, ok I know it’s only July.

But I always start thinking about how to save for Christmas at this time of the year.

Like it or not, we’re on the downward slide into Christmas and I hate the last minute Christmas rush with a passion.

I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling unorganised in general. So spending more than I want to and feeling rushed into decision making on gifts and holiday time planning really gets my knickers in a knot!

I LOVE Christmas – and I much prefer to spend December cruising the shops enjoying the decorations and festive music WITHOUT the stress of what to buy, for who and feeling stretched financially.

The only way to get around this is to make sure you’ve stashed enough cash away to really enjoy the Christmas period the way you want to. And ditch the festive guilt that comes with blowing your Christmas budget.

So you can:

  • Take the kids to the Wiggles Christmas concert without feeling guilty
  • Buy that new outfit for Christmas lunch this year
  • Afford the holiday you’re already talking about but haven’t planned for yet!
  • Be thoughtful about the gifts you give
  • Make it to all the social functions you want to get to but ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford

Here’s how you can save for Christmas with ease!

Nail down your Christmas number

Work out what your Christmas Spending Plan is.

Ask yourself what:

  • Holidays are you planning
  • Events are you planning to attend
  • Who you are buying presents for this year
  • Expenses for Christmas Day itself [whether you’re hosting or not]

You need to know what it’s all going to cost you.

Divide that by 5 (because there’s five months left till Christmas) and if you’ve saved nothing towards Christmas already – that’s what you need to start siphoning away starting with this months’ pay!

Start Shopping Now

Ironic advice from the Fiscal Mum right??

You don’t need to wait until the Christmas decorations go up to start shopping now.

End of financial year sales are still on and there are some great bargains about already. Don’t’ fall into the trap of thinking pre-Christmas sales are the best way to buy at a discount.

If you can buy something at 70% off now – how much cheaper can it get right?? Plus, you won’t be fighting every other mum and her bouncing brood of littlies to buy it in the weeks before Christmas.

If you can save the cash for the expenses you can’t pay for now (like groceries for example) and consider pre-paying some of the expenses (like gift buying for example) before Christmas, not only might you get a better deal you’ll also be spreading your expenditure so you’re family budget doesn’t take a hit once the lights and decorations go up.

Have a clear out (or two)

Embrace minimalism between now and then and make some cash doing so!

When was the last time you had a good clear out of the garage, storage cage or even the bloody living room?

We had council clean up last weekend at our place and my god it feels good to cull!!

Now I don’t mean you should sell all your earthly possessions just so you can fund Christmas lunch – but consider a garage sale between now and Christmas. Don’t do it before council clean up though – no one want to buy what they can wait two weeks for and pick up for free from the curb side!

If garage sales are too 90’s for you – sell some things online.

Gumtree, Ebay, Facebook – there’s plenty of online forums for you to hock the things that are taking up space and preventing you from a night out during this year’s festive season.

Don’t blow your tax return

You’re probably doing your tax return up at present so spare a thought for Christmas. If you’re planning a nice family holiday but you haven’t actually thought about saving for it yet – you are likely going to pop in on the ole credit card and worry about it next year (like everyone else!)

Why do it to yourself? (Start the New Year in debt that is).

Use that tax time cash to get a jump start on your holiday saving account. Even if it covers the spending money only – give your Christmas holiday the cash boost it needs with your tax return if it’s not otherwise ear-marked for something more important (like paying off your existing debts).

Set up travel deal alerts

If travel is on the cards for the end of the year celebrations whether to visit family, have a holiday or attend a celebration of sorts – start planning now.

Did you know you can set up alerts with your favourite flight & accommodation websites to notify you when a particular route or hotel comes up within your dates and within a particular price range?

You no longer have to scour the net and check flight prices every week to see if there’s a deal that suits. The deal comes to you.

For flights, check out the app ‘Hopper’ – you search for a trip then add it to your ‘watch’ list. Hopper then notifies you when your flight will be the cheapest, using data science to predict the cheapest time to buy from analysing an archive of trillions of flight prices.

Pretty cool. Give it a go.

Trim your lifestyle

The kids are back at school this week – phew! So hopefully your spending can return to normal again.

Consider a few lifestyle sacrifices between now and Christmas that could make up some extra cash come December.

I like the month by month approach where you take a different approach to saving each month between now and Christmas.

Here is an example plan of attack:

  • July: No Alcohol
  • August: No Online Shopping
  • September: No Junk Food
  • October: No Takeaway
  • November: No Coffee
  • December: Take lunch to work [short month with holidays so totally achievable!]

You make up the monthly challenge to suit you – they key is changing things up every month is the key to going the distance.

With a bit of forward thinking – you can have the Christmas you’re already planning without the financial stress.

Be prepared!

Rebecca xx