Tips to avoid a holiday spending hangover

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Avoid a spending hangover these holidays

The silly season is all but here. Retailers have Christmas songs playing, decorations will soon adorn every second home on your street, the mercury is rising and last but not least, NZCU South Christmas Saver accounts are finally open! The wait is over, and you can now access your funds.

If you have regularly contributed throughout the year to your dedicated Christmas Saver account, well done. Every little bit helps to make your Christmas that much more special.

Now comes the tricky (and fun) part of allocating your funds toward your Christmas activities. Be it events, presents, food & beverages, holidays or more. Now is the time to be rewarded for your Christmas saving efforts.     

Before we go any further…

The basic premise and the one takeaway from this piece for all New Zealanders is to be careful and only spend what you can realistically afford this festive season.

We all know Christmas and the festive season is an expensive time of the year. We all see it coming, yet many of us do not correct the mistakes we have made in the past. The costs add up and with it the stress levels.  The mistakes we are talking about are all too familiar. We have compiled a few of the common errors in our ways below with consequences you may expect to experience.  

>Putting the Christmas and holiday spending on the credit card.

Consequence: A hangover that will roll into the New Year if the credit balance is not paid off, in full before the due date. Just like any hangover, if we over-indulge/over-extend ourselves then we better be prepared to suffer the consequences. Know your limits classic kiwis, in more than one sense of the word.

>‘Counting the chickens before they hatch.’ By this we refer to a classic pitfall many New Zealanders encounter by spending their Christmas funds before the money is available.

Consequence: It is fairly common for New Zealanders to spend in advance, even exceeding the balance accumulated in their Christmas savings accounts. Before Christmas time. This is damaging as many New Zealanders head into the holiday season in the red, and are constantly playing catch-up – at what is traditionally the most expensive time of the year.   

>Inadequate budgeting

Consequence: Many New Zealanders fail to budget. Through either a lack of understanding or effort. As a result, this can lead to many falling short at Christmas time. To make things happen you could put it on the credit card however this isn’t always the wisest move. 

> Treating yourself. Many fall into the trap of feeling the need to treat yourself. Why? Because it’s Christmas?

Consequence: Retailers exploit consumers this way over the holidays with sales, specials, discounts, limited time offers and more. Regardless of how you label it, the tactic is employed to create a sense of need, with Christmas seen as ‘the perfect time’ to self-gift and treat yourself. Ask yourself if you need to make the purchase decision? If the answer is yes, great take advantage of the offer. If hesitation is apparent perhaps hold-off, particularly if you were contemplating putting the purchase on credit or hire purchase.  

Quick tips to avoid a holiday season hangover;

  • Utilise a budget.
  • Set up direct debits/automatic payments so that payments are not missed. Late or missed payments will harm your credit score and future ability to apply for credit. 
  • Do everything early. Your budget, buying gifts, seeking the best deals. Doing so in advance can lighten the load come Christmas time.
  • Stick to the plan. For example, if you have set aside $100 per family member do your best not to spend over this amount.
  • Have an account exclusively for Christmas/holiday spending. A prime opportunity exists with the NZCU South Christmas Saver.

So there you have it. A few tips to combat any mistakes that many experience over the Christmas period. Remember it’s the thought that counts at Christmas time as many of our members can attest through their own unique Christmas stories.