Giving is contagious, right? With so many joining in the spirit of the season, it’s easy to get swept up in the thrill of it all. That makes it challenging to stay checked in with the money choices we’re making along the way.

The silly season seems to be starting earlier and earlier each year. Time to get super generous with those we’re close to… friends, family, whānau… it’s going to be great.

Now we just need to pay for it. The good news is: there are 8 money hacks that can help you party on with less of that debt hangover afterwards.

1. Buying now, paying later for gifts?

Buy Now, Pay Later obviously can come in handy this time of year, especially to smooth out the cost of things (which of course have gone up all year) by paying in installments. But too many Afterpays, Laybuys or Zips going at once is really tricky to juggle, so you want to just do one or two at a time max. Here’s more on how to shop smarter using Buy Now, Pay Later.

2. Feeling FOMO? You do you.

When it feels like everyone is spending more than you are, it’s okay to just spend what you’re comfortable with. Studies have shown that many of us think everyone around us is spending up more than we are. So just because everyone else is – doesn’t mean you have to. Do your thing!

3. Set dollar limits with friends for gifts.

Simply agree on a dollar limit for gifts and have friends or family pick a name out of a hat. It’s still heaps of fun, and no one feels obligated to give to absolutely everyone – and overextend themselves moneywise along the way. Secret Santa’s a friend when it comes to your money.

4. DIY gifts: they’ll love it!

Ignore the online stores, pull out the cardboard, and go DIY instead. Design your own Christmas cards, or craft personalised vouchers: maybe a foot massage, or a home-cooked dinner of the recipients’ choosing. And these gifts can’t sell out!

5. Redeem those rewards points.

You earned them after all. Rewards points are a great way to save money at Christmastime. If you’ve been building them up all year, you may be pleasantly surprised how far they can go towards ticking off your giving list. Or do you have any gift cards lying around?

6. Skip shopping for yourself (for now).

You’ll have more for those you’re close to. Gift-giving is supposed to be about others anyway, but it turns out that focusing on those you care about first is a good money choice, too. Wait until Boxing Day and score fantastic bargains for yourself.

7. Feeling out of control? Use cash.

If all the plastic swiping and paywaving has too many of your dollars headed out the door, there is an alternative! If you’re finding things are getting out of control, try walking around with a pile of cash for a while instead. You’ll hold on to it better.

8. Less debt, more memories.

Spending more money does not necessarily get you more Christmas, so it helps to stay in touch with what you’re spending this silly season. After all, you want to get through the holidays without a huge pile of debt, but with great memories to show for it.

Good times! Enjoy.

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