It’s snuck up on us again, hasn’t it? Crazy! It’s the same time every year yet we always freak out a bit when the countdown begins. And this week it’s only eight weeks until the man in the red suit arrives.
If you are paid fortnightly, that’s only four more pays! Scary thought!
In the next few weeks I’ll be doing a countdown with you and sharing what I do. Being prepared and organised is a great way to manage your money. It’s the surprises that catch us out and cause us to go outside our spending plans. When you have a plan and you are organised, it creates a sense of calm and peace and that’s how I like my holiday season to feel, don’t you?
I’ll be clear from the outset. We won’t be setting a budget. The word makes me feel constrained, inflexible and in pain! It’s a given that we spend, especially this time of the year.
So, I’ll be calling it a Christmas Spending Plan – a plan for my money. A conscious spending act.
Australians will spend $17 billion dollars in the six weeks leading into Christmas – that’s about $2,500 each. You may go over this, you may go under this. The trick is to spend what you can afford and not to overspend and go into debt or further into debt. Make the Christmas the year you don’t suffer from credit regret.
There are eight weeks left, there is still time! Let’s start with planning. Here are seven of my favourite apps and websites.
Smart phone apps and websites
Evernote – App and website where you can write notes, speak notes, take photos and save into notes. It is completely searchable and handy to use for taking notes about Christmas meal planning, gifts that you might be making etc…
Lassoo Online Catalogues – An app and website where you can see all of the current catalogues online. You can search ‘Lego’ and it will bring up all of the stores that are currently promoting through catalogues.
Receipt Bank – Scan in your receipts and it takes a photo for you and breaks it down into dates, supplier, category etc… Great for keeping track of receipts for warranties!
Santa’s Bag – I love this app. I used it last year and am using it again now. When we have been shopping throughout the year and my kids have liked something, I take a photo of the item using the app. You can put in the store, price, whether it’s to be purchased or you have already purchased and even where you’ve hidden it! It also keeps you on your spending plan. You can even share your list with others.
Spotify – Create your Christmas playlists!
Taste – Online recipes and you can create shopping list
TrackMySPEND – Track all of your Christmas spending. Food, entertainment, gifts, taxis, lights for decorating the house and other decorations. Track your spending this Christmas to enable you to plan for next Christmas!
Some other tips
Groceries – Begin adding grocery items to your weekly shop. Have a look at what is on special that you will use over the Christmas period and begin to build your stock.
Declutter – Make a list of all the rooms that need a declutter and start on a couple of spaces each week leading up to Christmas.
Stocktake – Look at what you have left over from last Christmas and what you’ll need.
Gift list – Create your gift list and make agreements with friends and families about gift giving expectations. Consider leaving adults out and only purchasing for children.
Meal planning – Create a list of the meals and parties that you will be involved in. Have a look for recipes and make decisions.
Calendar – Print out a calendar for the next 2 months and schedule in your appointments, dinners, parties, etc…
Card writing – Make a list of whom you’ll be sending cards to and start writing some each week. Send them around the first week of December.
Beauty stuff – This is the busiest time of the year for beauty and hairdressing salon! Make your appointments now and write them on your calendar. You could even ask your therapist or stylist for a discount if you pay up front now.
Stay tuned for more Christmas lead-up tips from Michelle.