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Surviving the Silly Season by Grant Howe

Surviving the Silly Season by Grant Howe

Hey all, here are a few tips we have for surviving this Christmas.

Here we go:

1) Control your Credit Card.

Credit Cards tend to get out of control this time of year, and if you’re not keeping a check on
what your spending, then this debt can spiral out of control very easily.

Remember, the interest rates on a Credit Card are a lot higher than your home loan. It is not uncommon for people’s credit cards to “blow out”, and then the next 12 months are spent repaying debt from the Christmas before.

So keep a check on your credit!!

Pay your card off in good time, and avoid interest charges or penalties that erode any of the savings you made when you originally purchased the gifts.

2) Avoid Interest Free Purchase terms.

Unless you are extremely disciplined…and I mean extremely disciplined, stay away from the
“Buy now, no interest for 48 months” or whatever the latest deal is.

Why? Because unless you are extremely disciplined, people tend to spend more that they can afford with the deals. In the end they get themselves into medium to long term financial difficultly and end up paying a whole heap more in charges that the original purchase price.

Seriously, don’t you think there is a catch to any of these “buy now, pay later” deals.

3) Make sure you’re not wasting money on gifts your friends and family don’t want.

Ask them to suggest three or four possible gifts then buying something they suggest that’s in your price range.

4) Parents: you could consider telling your children to pick the top one or two things they want most.

The children might get several smaller gifts, if the budget allows, but it is a great way to teach your children how to prioritize.

5) Plan your budget for your Christmas. Have an understanding of what you can afford, prior to your big Christmas spend and stick to it.

Plan ahead, have an understanding well out what you need to buy, write it down, and cross it off as you purchase it.

Having an understanding of your budget and the exact gifts well in advance, means you are
not guessing or “impulse” shopping for Christmas.

Have a plan and stick to it.

6) If you receive your annual bonus at Christmas – rather than spend it all, use it to pay something off.

A good tip is to pay your credit/store cards on time with your bonus moneys to avoid hefty late fees and charges.

7) Interest rates are still considerably low.

This Christmas period may be a good time to have a look at your present home loan and debts and consider a restructure or a re-finance. If you need a tip on where to find a good mortgage broker, send us a message, we will point you in the right direction.

8) Plan a visit in the New Year to a financial adviser (A Zenith Wealth financial adviser).

If things have got out of control over Christmas, meet with an adviser, “put a plan in place”, so you are not a repeat offender next year.

Some children get more that others at Christmas. This often comes down to parents affordability (or stupidity in some circumstances). Avoid the “adult” sibling rivalry during this time.

Just because your sister can afford (or thinks she can, or worse pretends she can) to spend thousands on each child, doesn’t mean that you have to as well.

Don’t put yourself into financial difficulty just because you feel pressured to keep up or

This is actually one of my pet hates.

A child I know once asked his mother if Santa Claus doesn’t love him as much as his cousins.
This made me feel quite sad, but unfortunately its fact of life. So if you are going to feel

pressured, or uncomfortable because of affordability, then consider your Christmas day plans and stay away from those potentially awkward or sad situations.

The kids will get over it a lot quicker than it takes to pay that debt off!!!

9) If you feel that buying presents for every niece, nephew, sister, brother, auntie, uncle, cat, dog, neighbor etc is going to be too much of a strain, then be prepared to have the difficult conversation with them (it is not as difficult as you might think).

Tell your siblings that buying for 15 nieces and nephews is unaffordable. You are better to be honest. There is a chance they might be thinking the same thing, however like you, are
prepared to put up with the financial strain rather than speak up. Don’t be embarrassed – be honest!!

10) Don’t drink and drive!!!!

Christmas is the festive season. That means parties, dinners, social events and alcohol.

What’s this got to do with financial or silly season survival?

Well apart from the fact that if you drink drive, you’re a bloody idiot (you all know the dangers here to yourself and others), if you get caught and lose your license, it’s an expensive end to Xmas, it may even mean you could lose your job if it depends on you having a license.

Catch a Taxi, catch a bus, or arrange a lift.

11) Not another financial survival tip, but more one for sanity.

You have survived the lead up to Christmas, now the big day is arriving.

Shut yourself down. Forget about work, forget about life’s stresses, and enjoy yourself.

Enjoy Christmas day as it is meant to be enjoyed. Have fun with the kids, eat heaps, and have a great day!

Grant Howe

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