Managing your day-to-day finances can be challenging enough so with the festive season approaching, The Northern Centre has put together some of their top budgeting tips to help you prepare.
The more organised you are before you go shopping, you are more likely to avoid overspending and buying items you don’t need.
Create a list of everything you need to buy, including all food items, drinks, gifts (including cards and wrapping paper), decorations, entertainment, etc. Break them down into categories, then calculate a budget for each. If you go over budget, you may need to reassess your list and remove any non-essential items. And don’t forget to factor in all your regular monthly expenses.
Make sure you always take your list with you to the shops to avoid unnecessary stress and spending. Or take a photo of your list so it’s on your mobile phone. There are also some great budget and list creating apps to download for free.
Once you’ve finalised your lists, it’s time to shop around for sales and bargains. Where possible, only take with you the amount of cash that you have budgeted to spend. This will help reduce the temptation to buy unnecessary items and avoid the post-holiday debt hangover.
If you can’t find what you’re after in your local shops, there are many online discount shops to choose from and some even have free shipping. Or be creative and create your own special gifts.
Researching prices online or in-store catalogues first will also save you time, money and additional travel expenses.
Organise a ‘staycation’
Instead of the pressure of an expensive holiday, plan lots of free or affordable fun things to do around your area, like picnics, hiking, playing games in the park, community events, visit the library for free movies and audiobooks, etc.
But most of all, remember that the festive season is a time for spending quality time with loved ones, not spending unnecessary money and feeling stressed.
The Northern Centre offers a range of parenting programs that provide parents with the extra skills needed to help with raising their families. Government funding means many of the programs are delivered at no cost. They can also offer childcare for the duration of the program (booking essential). For more information on the courses offered by The Northern Centre you can contact them at:
Phone: 9334 0111
Hours: Mon, Tue, Wed and Fri 8.30am – 4.30pm, Thu 8.30am – 7.30pm