How to keep the Christmas joy alive – when spending money

Eek! I know I’m writing about the Christmas countdown and all that but holy smokes – it’s less than 40 sleeps away now!

Around the country, the Myer Story Windows have been unveiled and this weekend will see the arrival of the big, jolly man himself into most shopping centres around the country. Well, his magic elves dressed like Santa that report back to the real Santa… 😉

The Christmas shopping season is definitely upon us and the wonder, thrill and delight can sometimes take over the practical money management that we need to stick with over the coming weeks.

So as we enter the ‘six weeks to go’ part of the countdown, I have some things for you to think about.

Shopping over the next few weeks

Lists

It’s time to have those lists on you and to actually stick to the list! Whether it’s gift buying or grocery buying, you must stick to your list. There is a lot of temptation around at this time of the year but why? Because retailers know that you are vulnerable and perhaps even thinking ‘oh just this once’, ‘you only live once’… The trouble is, if this is something that you have said to yourself every year and are saying again this year, you’ve got a lot of overspending ground to make up for.

Groceries

Make sure you eat before you go. Shopping on an empty stomach will add approximately 20% to your bill!

Online shopping

Check that anything you have ordered has arrived (or due soon). Sometimes all of our online spending at different websites can get lost in our inboxes. If you are planning on more online shopping, check that you will receive the items on time.

Receipts

Keep all of your receipts (both online and physical) in a file for exchange, refunds or warranties.

Gifts

Buy a couple of gifts each week so you are not hit with a massive outpouring of funds the week before Christmas.

Parking and food courts

These expenses can really blow out your budget. Make sure you consider them before you leave home and consider other alternatives. Can you use public transport? Could you carpool with someone and share the parking cost? City parking can cost a fortune! It could cost around $50 to feed the family at the food court when you are shopping. Ensure it’s included in your spending plan.

Planning your Christmas menus

Menus

Take some time to sit down and work out your menu plans for functions you are hosting over Christmas.

Meat

Time to place your orders with your butcher. Turkey, roasts, hams, turduckens (not really sure how I feel about those), etc.

Seafood

Place your orders and be careful not to order too much! If you are sharing costs with family members, now is a great time to be clear about spending limits.

Groceries and alcohol

Keep your eye out on the catalogues for specials and top-up your weekly shop to spread out the flow of expenses.

And most importantly, remember the joy! If you don’t like looking for parking spaces because it’s too busy, get there early!

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