A cau­tion­ary tale

The Fi­nan­cial Grinch who Stole Christ­mas

QT Magazine - - HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE - WITH DIANNE CHARMAN, FROM JADE FI­NAN­CIAL GROUP

CHRIST­MAS is com­ing and, with it, comes Christ­mas cheer, time spent with fam­ily and friends and an abun­dance of food; leav­ing us happy and con­tent in the mo­ments of joy – un­til re­al­ity hits.

Once the fes­tiv­i­ties con­clude and the silly sea­son is over, we re­alise what we have done fi­nan­cially and Christ­mas re­morse sets in.

Aus­tralians spend bil­lions dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son and a whop­ping 40 per cent of peo­ple use credit cards or loans to pay for Christ­mas presents. It is all too com­mon to get caught up in the whirl­wind of Christ­mas, then start the new year re­morse­ful and in debt.

How can we cut down on spend­ing and en­joy Christ­mas with a stock­ing full of presents – not debt?

Fab­u­lous fes­tive tips to get you through the silly sea­son: Christ­mas lunch – not a four-week feast

Christ­mas brings an end­less bar­rage of lunches, par­ties, gath­er­ings and fam­ily get-to­geth­ers giv­ing us plenty of op­por­tu­nity to overindulge and stuff our­selves silly. To cut down on spend­ing, make your own food in­stead of buy­ing out if you’re asked to bring some­thing and, if you’re host­ing your own lunch, re­mem­ber that it is just that – lunch; not a feast with enough food to last you into Fe­bru­ary.

Fes­tive trim­mings – re-use and up­cy­cle

Each Christ­mas we are treated to a never-end­ing sup­ply of new dec­o­ra­tions and trees, tempt­ing us to for­sake the per­fectly good dec­o­ra­tions and tree we have at home. In­stead of buy­ing new dec­o­ra­tions, try mak­ing your own or up­cy­cle old dec­o­ra­tions into some­thing new. School’s back in Jan­uary

Have your fu­ture self thank you by pre­par­ing back-to-school lists now and putting aside funds to pay for books, uni­forms and fees.

Hav­ing fun doesn’t need to cost $$$

Dur­ing the Christ­mas break there is al­ways an abun­dance of ac­tiv­i­ties to do and places to visit that are free; hik­ing, art gal­leries, farm­ers’ mar­kets, beaches, la­goons, parks, mu­se­ums – where pos­si­ble, take your own food and drinks to save even more money.

Make a list and check it twice

Write down a list of peo­ple you plan to buy gifts for and how much you want to spend. Use cash to keep your spend­ing within your bud­get. Look on­line to find the best prices or get cre­ative and make your own gifts.

PHOTO: ARTMARIE

Be fes­tive within your bud­get.

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