How mums can prepare financially for Christmas right now.
Being a single parent can have its challenges at any time of the year, but in the lead up to the school holidays and the festive season, those challenges can seem amplified. From keeping the kids entertained and finding the right balance of screen time to gift buying and interstate trips, there are plenty of expenses to tackle both before and during the holiday period.
To remain in control of your finances (and your sanity) during the festive season and to avoid a meltdown, we’ve put together the following money-saving tips that will steer you in the right direction.
How mums can prepare financially for Christmas right now
1. Use budgeting apps
There are so many budgeting apps at your disposal that can help you save money before the festive period begins. Whether it’s a joint expenditure app like Splitwise or a budget management app like Pocketbook, do some research to see what apps can help you improve your money management habits.
Use these apps to set yourself a savings goal and a detailed budget plan to put yourself in good stead before the holidays.
2. Suggest a Secret Santa or capped gift buying
Having a single income can make present buying seem like a nightmare come the holiday period, but you can make things easier by setting yourself a budget per person. Jot down a list of the people you’re buying for and give yourself a budget per person so that you’re not tempted to overspend. It’s also a good idea to think about what you want to buy for them before you hit the shops. That way, you won’t be swayed by any promotions or specials you see in store.
Secret Santa is another cost-effective way to give gifts during the holidays. This means you’re only responsible for buying a gift for one family member, which can significantly cut costs. Plus, they’ll be happy to receive a quality gift rather than several separate ones.
3. Watch your plastic spending to prepare financially for Christmas
It might be tempting to put the bulk of your expenses on your credit card during the holidays, but this is definitely something that you should avoid. Putting everything on credit could see you clocking up an excessive interest bill, which could be difficult to repay.
If you have several credit cards, think about opting for a balance transfer credit card ahead of the spending frenzy. A 0% balance transfer card means you’ll pay no interest for a given period of time, which gives you some breathing space when paying back your plastic debt. However, just make sure you pay down as much of the debt as you can during the interest-free period, otherwise you’ll be stuck paying off your balance at a much higher revert rate once the promotional period ends.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS EARLY
4. Earn reward points at the movies
Taking the kids to the cinema can be expensive once you’ve accounted for the tickets, popcorn and drinks, so earning reward points while you’re there can help to balance out the cost a bit.
You can actually earn points for every dollar you spend on an Event Cinemas or HOYTS movie voucher. Woolworths Rewards members, for example, can receive 1 point per dollar spent on an Event Cinemas or HOYTS e-gift card.
Also, if you join the the HOYTS Rewards program, you’ll be eligible for discounted tickets and Candy Bar promotions. You can also join the HOYTS Silver program for $13 p.a. to get 10% back on eligible purchases.
Your kids will want to see this year’s festive movies, so this is a great way to prepare financially for Christmas.
5. Rethink your child care costs
Unless you’re lucky enough to get time off work, it’s likely that you’ll need to fork out for childcare costs during the school holidays. These costs can make a huge dent in your savings, so if you can, try to think of alternatives. Whether it’s asking your parents or neighbours to look after the kids for a couple of days per week or organising for them to stay at a friend’s place, there are ways to get around this cost.
Asking you to prepare financially for Christmas now may seem daunting, but if you do a little groundwork early, you’ll put yourself in good stead for the festive season. Whether it’s downloading a budgeting app, pulling back on the plastic spending or finding new ways to earn reward points, there are many ways that you can prepare yourself for the holidays while keeping the littles ones happy too.