Business

All I want for Christmas is a debt-free new year

By AMP Financial Planner Duane Potter

While Christmas is one of happiest times of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful when it comes to money.

With so many additional expenses to account for such as the cost of presents, Christmas food shopping and holiday outings, careful budgeting is essential.

There's no need to be a scrooge, but there are many simple tips to follow to ensure you enjoy the festive season without risking a financial hangover in the New Year.

Tips for controlling silly season spending:     

1. Get everyone to bring a plate - hosting Christmas lunch is expensive but you can spread the cost by asking everyone to bring a dish. Your family and friends won't mind being asked to bring a salad or dessert.

2. Be a savvy shopper - set a budget for presents and stick to it. Instead of buying for everyone why not organise a 'Secret Santa'. Also use catalogues and shop online to find the best deals. Vouchers are a great gift idea because you can use them in the post-Christmas sales and get more bang for your buck. Don't forget many toy shops offer no deposit lay-bys right up until Christmas. 

3. Go easy on the credit - while credit cards are convenient, they can be addictive over the Christmas period and undo a well-planned budget. Avoid buying gifts with credit, unless you are going to be able to pay off your card before interest is charged. You don't want to be still paying off Christmas well into the New Year.

4. Start paying off your holiday now - if you're going away over the Christmas break, try to pay off your accommodation costs in instalments before you leave. Make sure you holiday within your budget and avoid paying for expensive overseas travel on your credit card if you won't be able to pay it off quickly.

5. Bake it or make it - if you have a talent for craft or baking you can create inexpensive presents such as home-made fruit cakes, rocky road, jams and relishes. If you can sew, knit or have some other skill, a personalised gift will be even more special.

6. Budget for New Year expenses - when doing your Christmas budget, don't forget to factor in some of the big expenses you'll be facing in the New Year. If you've got children, be mindful that all those back to school costs are just around the corner. You'll also have a new round of bills starting to roll in, such as rates, electricity and phone bills.

So with a little thought and planning now, it is possible to have a jolly festive season without blowing a hole in the budget.

Once the fun of Christmas is over and the summer holidays a distant memory, you can then look forward to getting off to a flying financial start in 2013.

Duane Potter is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706. Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Topics:  christmas


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Noosa's welcome is warm embrace

PNG highlander Julie ha never before seen the ocean before her visit to Noosa.

PNG mum says thanks Noosa

Deadly ticks a Noosa threat

Paralysis tick

Noosa tick warning

Turning tables in food supply

The special Country Noosa dinner was a real hit.

Noosa Country serves up food for thought

Local Partners

Love comes back on course for Katy and Bertie

After heartbreak Noosa swan find true love on course

Noosa woman breaking the cycle of poverty in Nepal

GOOD DEED: Laguna Jacks manager John Whimpress (right) is organising a fundraiser for Alissa Hill, with proceeds going to Alissa's orphanage in Nepal called Sunshine Children's Home.

Alissa Hill has helped many children in Nepal thrive

Noosa's welcome is warm embrace

PNG highlander Julie ha never before seen the ocean before her visit to Noosa.

PNG mum says thanks Noosa

Deadly ticks a Noosa threat

Paralysis tick

Noosa tick warning

Turning tables in food supply

The special Country Noosa dinner was a real hit.

Noosa Country serves up food for thought

Melanie is eager for life and wants you to be too

FIT IT IN: Nutritionist Melanie Eager wants others to be inspired to exercise .

Pomona woman runs from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast

Noosa kids take action to help environment

Good Shepherd Lutheran College students are right into the bio learning conference.

Noosa kids take enviro action

Caring to make a career change

Aleesha Hampson

Nursing a desire to change careers

Marilyn Manson wants a 'nice' girl

Marilyn Manson wants a girl who understands both of his identities

Angelina turns to Depp for consolation after divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their six children

Angelina Jolie is reportedly being consoled by Johnny Depp

Rockhampton dancer en pointe for European stages

CENTRE STAGE: Anastasia Lewis has moved from Rockhampton to Sydney to study classical ballet.

Rocky dancer believes competitions are the perfect preparation

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record