It certainly was the season to be jolly. It’s interesting to look back on the savings measures I suggested before Christmas, and to see how easy it is to get caught up in spending money. The new year is often a time to replace the catchcry of frivolity with a mantra of frugality, to throw off the party clothes in favour of work attire.
To be honest, I’m not doing anything that extreme. But to set myself up properly for 2010, I’ll need to budget post-Christmas.
Here are my plans;
Don’t let Christmas last a month
I let Christmas last two weeks, so there’s room for improvement, but I find this very sound advice. Christmas is a wonderful season, but it needs to end at some point. Silly season is a lot of fun, but partying ends up costing a lot of money.
There’s no need to lose a sense of fun, but appreciate how chilled Australia gets in January and spend your time picnicking, or beaching or having friends around for dinner. I don’t know about you, but keeping up the Christmas kind of partying is well beyond my budget and liver, so I’m looking to make January include some downtime.
Embrace that money is tight for all
Everyone feels the pinch at Christmas. Don’t suggest activities that are expensive, but set up your social life around the fact that everyone would like to save the pennies. School holidays tend to be expensive for parents, so think about setting up a roster where one family takes all the kids for one day of each week.
The savings on child care (and, potentially, sanity) will make it well worth your while every time your turn comes around. If you’re young/single/still living the dream and don’t have those kind of responsibilities, don’t spend a fortune on a holiday house. Ask around; someone is sure to be have a holiday house. Or house swap.
Resist sales temptations
Boxing day sales are the buzz post-Christmas, but if you have no financial fat to play with, the urge has to be resisted. Whether 50% cheaper or not, it’s still spending money on non-essentials.
If you are in desperate need for an item, write yourself a list of what you need and how much you can afford to spend and buy only that. Think of creative ways to freshen up your wardrobe- clothes swap with friends, or have a craft day where you think of fresh new styles for your tired-looking dresses.
Post-Christmas blues are real, and often caused by stress over debts incurred over Christmas. Find proactive ways to approach the issue. Draw yourself up a budget that is achievable, and start paying back the debt today. Start planning how you might do next Christmas more cheaply. After all, Christmas is an emotional time and most people exceed their budget. So it’s not something to beat yourself up about.
While frivolity is set to stay in my vocabulary, and I’ve yet to have frugality tattooed on my arm, I will be spending my new year trying to set myself up to be financially fit. So, next year, the silly season will not catch me on the hop.
What are your plans to save post-Christmas?
Did you exceed your budget, or stick to plan?