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Even though the New Zealand winter is still going strong, believe it or not, it’s time to start warming up that Christmas spirit -- financially speaking, at least. For many of us, Christmas is an expensive time of year, and it’s certainly no fun running out of money right at a time when you need it most. Here’s our guide to ensuring you stay on top of things this festive season.
Make a money plan
The great thing about getting organised for Christmas early is that you have time to really think about how much you need to spend. The best way to do this is to create a Christmas budget. Start by sitting down with a pen and paper (or your iPad) and listing all the people you need to buy for. Give yourself a ballpark figure on how much you want to spend on each of them then tally up the results. Once you know how much you want to spend on prezzies, it’s going to be much easier to find the money.
Tip: Use our guide to budgeting to help create your Christmas-specific budget and don’t forget to allow for the added expense of buying all that Christmas food.
Clamp down on expenses
Once you’ve got a budget sorted, now’s a good time to chop out any unnecessary expenses that may have crept into your life. Be brutally honest with yourself and look for things that you can do without, such as pay TV and Netflix subscriptions, even if it’s just a temporary hold to help you find a few extra dollars, it’ll all add up. Going without Netflix for 6 months could put up to $110 back in your pocket. That could pay for a few presents on it’s own. Likewise, if you go out for dinner regularly, try reducing that by half and save yourself maybe $100 a pop. Or if you’re the stay at home type, perhaps there are a few takeaway treats you could forgo.
Tip: It’s not just luxuries that can make way for savings, hunt down and destroy any unnecessary bank fees while you’re at it by using our guide to avoiding avoidable fees.
Start saving now
Saving can be hard, there’s no doubt about that. But with time on your side you can break it down into more manageable chunks. With a budget in place and expenses chopped, you’ll know exactly how much you need to put away each month between now and Christmas.
Start by opening a savings account and use tricks such as setting up an automatic payment to that savings account that comes out of your pay before you even get a chance to spend it. Even as little as $20 a fortnight for half a year will see around $500 in your account by Christmas.
If you happen to have some money spare, it might be worth considering a term deposit that will lock your money up for a set period of time. Not only will this help you stay strong and not spend it, but it’ll earn interest along the way.
Tip: For a closer look at getting your savings on track, check out our complete guide to saving.
Take advantage of sales
The best thing about preparing for Christmas early is that you’ll be able to take advantage of all the sales and specials that pop up during the year. If you’ve made a list of all the people you need to buy for, you can easily pick them off one at a time. Not only will this save you money if you can get a great price in a mid-year sale, it’ll reduce the stress of having to buy so many presents at Christmas time. By being organised, it also means you can take advantage of online shopping sites -- with time on your side it doesn’t matter if takes weeks to arrive in the post.
Tip: Don’t neglect your loyalty schemes, those FlyBuys can really add up. Just remember to order those presents with enough time to spare before the big day.
Get rewarded for sticking to your goals
Earn bonus interest with Rapid Save when you increase your savings balance each month, and make no more than one withdrawal.
- Earn bonus interest each month
- No monthly base fees
- One free withdrawal a month