By Katrina Haskew, CEO of Leading Advice

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. And in many ways, it really is!

But the holidays can also bring out a large degree of financial stress if not managed correctly. What with the presents, party outfits, decorations, food and drink, extra socialising, and Uber rides home to name just a few extra expenses, the cost of all this Christmas cheer can really start to add up…

But tis the season to be jolly, so here are some quick and easy tips to help you enjoy the holiday season – without blowing the budget, or feeling like the Grinch.

(1) Organise a Kris Kringle

One of the most expensive parts of Christmas is the presents. The number of people you need to buy for, and then have them reciprocate, seems to increase each year.

However, having a Kris Kringle system where the group selects only one person each to buy for, means that you can focus on one quality present, while spending significantly less overall. And this can work with almost every group: family, friends, and work colleagues.

(2) Plan the Christmas Menu

It’s hard not to get excited about the traditional family banquet. However, if you’re the one catering for the fam this year, you might be surprised how quickly the cost can blow out without a plan. Instead of going overboard, make a list (and check it twice) of all the food and drinks required, set a budget and then stick to it.

You can also share the catering between a few friends and family members to spread the joy – and more importantly, the cost – so that everyone can be involved in the special day. Offloading soft drinks, salads, and snacks to others can make an enormous difference.

(3) Delay Gift-giving and Grab Yourself a Bargain

We all know the cost difference of Easter eggs before and after Easter. With Christmas, it’s basically the same thing.

Simply delaying your gift giving until a few days following Christmas can sometimes even halve your gift expenses. And it’s not even necessary to join the Boxing Day madness – these sales often extend well into January.

(4) DIY Cards and Gift Wrapping

Festive cards and wrapping paper are traditional parts of Christmas. However, they’re often put in the recycle bin the minute the festivities are over. And at $5 a pop in many cases, that’s almost like throwing money away!

This Christmas, put away the adult colouring in book and get your mindfulness on with a touch of practical craft. Create your own cards and wrapping that not only save money, but will also be cherished by your family and friends.

Stuck for ideas?

• Take a family photo and write a message on the back.
• Give your children some paper to draw on to create personalised Christmas cards and wrapping paper
• Send out an electronic card with a photo or even a video message
• Brown paper and string is charming and nostalgic, while avoiding those pricey wrapping costs

(5) Online Shopping Early

Amazon is here and online shopping has never been bigger! Many premium gifts, such as perfumes and colognes, electronics, and books, can be bought from online retailers at a fraction of the price of those in a shopping centre – especially around Christmas. So long as you leave enough time for delivery, this can make a significant difference to your spend this season.

And then you can sit back with your Christmas bubbles and money still left in the bank! Perfect.

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DISCLOSURE: Katrina Haskew & KGH Financial Pty Ltd trading as Leading Advice ABN: 52 146 015 885 is a Corporate Authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN: 61 094 529 987 Australian Financial Services Licensee No. 244252. | 7/50 Borthwick Ave Murarrie QLD 4172

The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of Millenium3 Financial Service’s position, and are not attributed to Millenium3. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author.