Every Christmas it's the same story for many families; not enough money to go around, overspending and an aftermath of too much debt, stress and depression.
It is ironic that the season of good cheer should leave such disastrous effects in its wake. Here are the four best tips for surviving Christmas with your money intact.
1. Get more cash. Sell your surplus stuff online, have a garage sale, make things to sell at the weekend markets, increase your saving, earn more through working longer hours or additional part time work. If you still don't have enough, spread the cost over January as well by using a small bank overdraft as a last resort. As soon as you have paid all your debts, start saving for next Christmas.
2. Get a Pre-NUP (Pre-Christmas No Unnecessary Presents) agreement with your family and friends. They will be as delighted as you are that their Christmas list is shorter. If you share Christmas with a large family group, have a 'Secret Santa' party so you each only have to buy one gift. Alternatively, set a limit on the value of gifts.
3. Do a Christmas budget. Work out how much you have to spend, and put that money aside in a separate bank account. You will then be able to keep track of how much you have spent. Make a list of items to buy and stick to it. Avoid impulse buying by keeping to your list or waiting until the next day before you buy something you have spotted.
4. Buy online. Use the internet and 'shopbot' websites to find the cheapest price for the items on your shopping list. Keep an eye out for daily deals on the items you want, but don't get tempted by anything not on your list.
Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com