The festive season is here, but what does this mean for your bank account? Use these cash-savvy tips to ensure you pull through to the new year with #noregrets
Responsibility starts at home
Who isn’t familiar with the story of the relative that overstays their welcome, only for it to end in an awkward confrontation that compromises the relationship? As much as you may enjoy having Aunty Wendy visit, there’s a line to be drawn, and if it isn’t, the financial tension this overstepping of boundaries creates can ruin the happy-family dynamic. ‘First start planning everything with your own family before invitations go out to festive guests,’ says Henry Poulos, a registered financial planner and wealth specialist at Beta Wealth. ‘Talk to your spouse first, have a look at your budget and the number of leave days allocated and spend time deciding in your own mind how it will work financially.’ Money aside, communication can (as it often does) be your best friend here, too. Close the expectation gap with guests by letting them know upfront what you can and can’t do or afford when it comes to activities and food, suggests Henry.
Secret Santa saves the day
It’s difficult to avoid the spirit of giving at this time of year, and you shouldn’t have to. Office and family gift exchanges bring people closer (cue the merry feels) and are a lovely opportunity to show appreciation and, well, just do something nice for one another. Even better, though, is that it can also be cost-effective and not leave your bank account frowning. If you have a social gathering planned, or your work team has a gift-exchange tradition, Henry suggests making a list of all your relatives or colleagues’ names and doing a lucky draw to pair people up. ‘You only need to purchase a gift for that one person, and everyone gets a present.
‘If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail’
‘YOLO’ and ‘carpe diem’ attitudes are all good and well when you’re feeling flush, having just received that 13th cheque, but best believe you’ll be feeling the pinch if you don’t spread your spending out so you can make it till your January salary. ‘My clients often aren’t thinking about how they will come out after the new year in January and February. They are too excited about the holiday,’ shares Henry. ‘Budget for January and put money aside, allocate your bonus and plan. Once that is done, plan your December and New Year’s holiday.’
You may have made a tradition of travelling long-distance as a year-end treat for the family, which is great for relaxation and creating memories. But what about doing something a little different this year that’ll take the travel costs out of your budget and still leave you with the rested mind and happy holiday snaps? If you’re used to international travel during the festive season, consider swapping out the plane ticket with car keys and doing a little road trip instead. Or if road trips have been the long-standing tradition (maybe you drive a long way to see family), stay home and revel in the holiday fun your town has to offer.
Words by Dominique Bowen