The end of the year is creeping up, can you believe it? Summer is officially here and we’re getting closer and closer to the end of year festive season, where we eat more, drink more and spend more! Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weeks leading up to Christmas are traditionally the time where we buy gifts for family, friends, co-workers and ourselves. But, while shopping can be fun and even stress-relieving, it’s important not to go overboard and get into mountains of debt while you’re at it. Read our guide for how you can have a fun, debt-free holiday season!
Pay off any existing debt
The first step to enjoying a debt-free festive season is to try and pay off any existing debt that you might have already. Remember that debt comes with interest and the longer you pay it off, the more interest you’ll wrack up. Try to wrap up any debt you’re still paying off as soon as possible, but make sure you don’t get into further debt paying off what you already owe.
Set yourself a budget
The “YOLO” lifestyle sounds very appealing in theory. In reality, continuously making unplanned purchases can leave you struggling towards the end of the month. The best way to combat this is to have a monthly budget in place. This will help you determine exactly how much disposable income you have for entertainment and luxury spending. Once you know what that amount is, stick to it. You can leave a bit more wiggle room for the holiday season, but make sure you’re still covering your essential expenses first.
Keep track of your monthly expenses to avoid falling into debt
Constantly keeping track of everything you spend money on can act as a deterrent to last-minute purchases and impulse buying. This is because it’s often difficult to see exactly how much you’re spending unless you’ve got it right in front of you. Suddenly little purchases here and there add up to a lot more than you initially thought! To keep track of your expenses, apps like 22seven and moneysmart can help, otherwise, a basic Excel spreadsheet will also work!
Take advantage of seasonal sales and discounts
Being strategic about when and where you buy things can make a big difference. Waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday means you’ll likely get a great discount on what you want to buy. The weeks leading up to Christmas are when shops are at their busiest, so if you’re looking for things for youurself, hold fire. Shops generally have massive post-Christmas sales to make way for incoming stock, so rather aim to treat yourself then, when you can snag some deals!
Dodge debt by limiting your number of credit cards
The more credit cards you own, the more access to credit you have. This might give way to temptation, especially as the silly season approaches. The more charges you wrack up on each card, the more you’ll lose track of your spending. Limiting the number of credit cards you own will help you to stay on a debt-free trajectory. Also, avoid accepting any offers for cash advances that credit card companies may send you. Remember, these usually come with very high interest rates and some also charge fees for the cash advance on top of it.
With a little planning and forethought, you can enjoy a fun-filled holiday season without the stress of debt hanging over your shoulders. Another way to shop smartly is with Payflex at all participating stores. With our “buy now, pay later” option you can pay for your items over 6 weeks. The best part is the instalments are completely interest-free!