It’s the Christmas cash countdown: deck your money halls in 90 days
25 September 23
Reading time: 4 minutes
Okay, so I’m just going to call it: 90 sleeps until Christmas! Not sure how that happened so fast, but here we are.
We’ve got a quarter left to stash cash as we drift towards the silly season (or rather as it’s known, the Bermuda triangle of family finances – Christmas, holidays, back to school). Like every year, and perhaps now more than ever, the goal is to sail through with as little debt as possible.
After 12 delightful years of heading down with my daughter each December to our local Christmas tree farm – it closed its doors last year – it’s time to rethink our tradition. Feels like the right time, since Christmas is looking a bit trimmer with the cost of living, aiming for less waste and all.
Will it be trendy tree-alternative lights (without the tree) this year? Or a potted pine that we can grow and reuse over and over?
It’s all on the table, but as you’d expect, costs will certainly be a consideration. How much Christmas can we stretch from the money we sock away?
Saving: no time like the present!
If there’s one gift you give yourself this season, make it as little debt as you can. It makes for an awful hangover, and can drag down your money life for years.
The way to achieve that is stuffing some cash stockings ahead of time in the run up to the festivities. You’ll know by now we’re keen on ‘paying yourself first’ as a saving technique, funneling money each time your paid into a separate account before anyone else on your list gets paid. The more automated you can make this the better.
So give generously to your Christmas fund ahead of time, and it will allow you to do the same for those around you when the holidays roll in.
Money’s fun and fungible, so sweep it up
I’m big into sweeping these days. That is, sweeping any extra money lying around right into the Christmas account.
Say you’ve fired up Sorted’s budgeting tool and made your spending plan. As you’re sticking to it, you may find that you’ve let your budget breathe a bit (which is a good thing), and you’re not entirely clearing out each item.
For example, let’s say you’ve planned to spend $80 on takeaways and end up one week spending $68. Instead of leaving it to be spent on anything else straight away, you could take that extra $12 and just sweep it into the Christmas pot. And if for some reason you make it through your budgeting period and get away with skipping takeaways altogether, that’s $80 that can sweep in.
Although that money was meant for takeaways, money is fungible, meaning we can use those dollars any way we please. A dollar is a dollar is a dollar. So if you see any lying around these next 90 days, try some sweeping, especially with any windfalls that come your way.
Sell stuff now, buy more later
According to Trademe’s annual circular economy report, there’s as much as $5 billion hidden away in households around the country. There are 3 out of 4 of us who have things we could sell, on average 21 items.
If you base that on the average price of used listings, that works out to $1400 each of us could make by selling our pre-loved stuff – which you’ll agree would make a definite difference in Santa’s budget this year!
DIY décor for sure
Remember all those paper snowflakes and paper chains when we were kids? With 90 days to go, we’ve got more than enough time to dial up the handmade festivities.
This can definitely be cost-saving, but it also can double up as DIY decorating and gifting that gets everyone at home into the holiday spirit and entertained along the way. There are heaps of memory-making opportunities, not to mention a chance to get in the creativity flow.
So, whether you are all in for Pinkmas this year, or going for that royal burgundy traditional look, there are heaps of ways to repurpose or upcycle – which again lets you stash more cash.
It may seem like it’s coming all too soon (or not soon enough!), but 90 days is more than enough time to stay ahead of the Christmas countdown.