Get your finances in order for 2015

Many of us look forward to the Christmas holidays and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and family. It’s a time of many things; however one thing Christmas isn’t – is cheap.

It’s a time full of high expectations and costs – socialising with friends and family and attend Christmas parties, purchasing gifts for family and friends, a generous feast on the day, or a family holiday while the children are on school holidays – and the costs slowly add up, meaning many of us struggle to budget for the event.

To help start 2015 on a better financial footing, and emerge from next Christmas with your wallet intact, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep track of your spending so you can set a budget, and start saving for Christmas 2015 now. We have a useful Christmas Budget Calculator to get you started.
  • Consider opening a Christmas club savings account – transactions are free between November and January, but a fee of $4 per transaction applies for the rest of the year to help stop you from spending your savings early.
  • Pay off your December credit card spending in full in January so you don’t accrue interest charges.
  • If you can’t repay all your credit card debt, consider taking out a short term personal loan. Interest rates will be lower than on a credit card, but don’t forget to increase your repayments and make sure you avoid the temptation to spend on your credit card again!

The New Year is an ideal opportunity to look at your finances for 2015 more broadly:

  • Take stock of the credit cards you currently have: Do you have too many? Are the limits higher than you need?
  • Consider cancelling cards with the highest rates, or requesting a lower limit.
  • Think about any larger, infrequent bills, or big expenses on the horizon. Can you put a little extra money aside each week/fortnight to cover these upcoming costs?

What are your tips for getting your finances in order?