No one likes a hangover.  Particularly not a financial hangover in the new year!  Here are some tips to survive Christmas with your budget and credit rating in tact.

Shop smart.

  1. Set a realistic Christmas budget.  Include not only gift giving, but also all Christmas food and alcohol, cards and wrapping and the little extras like cab fares to parties, and your work Kris Kringle.
  2. Make a list and check it twice.  Never buy on impulse, when you are more likely to spend more money.
  3. Plan ahead, and search for bargains.  Many retailers are now vying for your shopping dollar and discounts are available.  Check out the catalogues before you buy, or you might be missing out on some savings.
  4. Find out about refund policies.  What if it doesn’t fit, or just isn’t liked?  Also hold onto receipts in case any purchases turn out to be faulty.
  5. Buy with cash – and ask for a discount.
  6. Lay-by gifts early on.  This is a cheaper option than credit card because you are not paying interest.  Even better still if you get the goods during a sale.
  7. Remember it really is the thought that counts.  Gifts that are inexpensive but just as valued by the receiver include
  8. Never use your credit card to pay for Christmas present, unless you know you can pay the balance off before any interest will be charged.
  9. Send your Christmas cards online, or make your own at home using recycled material.  Either or these options will save you money and are environmentally friendly.
  10. Go to the markets – you will be surprised at the quality of gifts, and the unique gifts that have a low pricetag!