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Five Tips for an Enjoyable, Thrifty Christmas

September is an eventful month as spring is in full swing. Are you already listing the ways you can make the most of the warmer weather? Making it understandable that most of you haven’t given Christmas, and its expenses, one thought – but you should.

Many would argue that there is still enough time to plan and save for December. But when it comes to the most expensive month of the year, there really isn’t that much time left. So to prevent yet another Christmas where you spend more than you intended to, do some planning in advance.

When it comes to budgeting, the old proverb “every bit counts” speaks volumes – especially with a December budget. Matthys Potgieter, spokesperson and debt expert at DebtSafe, offers five pre-planning tips to help you enjoy your budget-friendly Christmas this year:

Plan beforehand

“If you’re a fan of making lists, then this is your moment,” says Potgieter.

Create a December to-do list (for example: holiday accommodation, Christmas presents, travelling costs, Christmas dinner etc.). Then list your budget for each item. This will make it easy to see how much money is needed for each December activity.

Shop smarter

Do all your Christmas shopping during September and October. Not only will you save some cash with end-of-season sales, but you will also avoid the madness of Christmas shopping in November and December.

“It’s also wise to start stocking up on non-perishable food products – so you’ll have one less thing on your December shopping list,” adds Potgieter.

Fill your Christmas jar

Now is a great time to start saving your loose change for December. Adding loose change to a ‘savings jar’ is a fun activity for the whole family (remember, every bit helps).

“Another mid-year tip is to get rid of your smaller debt with your extra income (like your 13th cheque, a bonus, or tax return money),” says Potgieter.

Having less debt means you have more cash to save for December expenses.

Keep it simple this year

If you want to avoid debt because your budget is already stretched, keep it simple by having a slow-spending Christmas. Slow down; remember what Christmas is really about. And instead of spending money, spend time with your loved-ones. Remember, a great Christmas meal isn’t necessarily an expensive one. Talking about Christmas, another way to save is by making your own decorations and hand-made gifts in the months prior to December.

Share the joy

If you are hosting Christmas day this year, assign some tasks to friends or family members. For example, granny will bring the pudding; each household will bring their own meat and you can budget and prepare for all the salads. This will certainly put you in the right direction to save money. Just because you are the host doesn’t mean you have to take on every single expense by yourself.

December should be a month where you can unwind from a busy 2017 and enjoy time with your loved ones without worrying about money. This can only happen when you stay on budget. Start today and enjoy the rewards of being financially free for years to come.