While it may feel as though this year has passed in a blur, this Friday marks 10 weeks until Christmas.
But this doesn’t have to mean disastrous things for your cash flow, as one financial advisor has proven.
Helen Baker, from Sydney, shared her 10-week Christmas checklist to follow to help you to keep your budget on track during the festive period.
So how should you budget for the next two and a half months?
Helen Baker (pictured), from Sydney, shared her 10-week Christmas checklist to follow to help you to keep your budget on track during the festive period
When you get to 10 weeks out, Helen said you should set your spending plan and write it down (stock image)
10 WEEKS OUT: Set your spending plan
At the 10-week critical time juncture, it’s a good idea to set your spending plan and write it down.
‘Allocate an amount to each person you need to buy for and then add it up,’ Helen told FEMAIL.
‘If the number is too scary, work your way backwards from a number you are comfortable with.’
The financial advisor said if you’re earning less than usual in 2020, you don’t have to see Christmas as a washout, but rather be creative and sort your gifts in a different way.
‘Have a spring clean out and sell unwanted items for extra cash or re-gift unused ones,’ Helen said.
‘Redeem loyalty and frequent flyer points to buy gifts. Alternatively, go for a handmade gift. Print and frame your favourite photographs or paint or draw something wonderful.
‘It could end up meaning more anyway.’
EIGHT WEEKS OUT: Do some research
By the time you reach eight weeks until the big day, it’s time to start doing some research.
‘Start looking now for what you’ll need to get, as shopping around will let you hunt down the best price,’ Helen said.
Get yourself an idea of what you’re getting and for who, which will make it easier to do price comparisons.
‘Also, consider where what you’re buying is coming from,’ Helen added – as some items will come from interstate or overseas.
If you start doing some of your shopping now, it will mean you don’t have to pack everything into one month’s pay cheque.
SIX WEEKS OUT: Shop wisely
With six weeks to go, it’s time to get online.
‘With COVID-19 causing shipping delays, now is the time to shop online so that everything arrives on time,’ Helen said.
You should get all of your online shopping in order, but beware of any bogus discounts that might seem too good to be true.
When you get to four weeks out, scan the sales to see if there is anything you are missing (stock image)
FOUR WEEKS OUT: Scan the sales
By the time you get to four weeks from Christmas, many people will be hitting the shops and you could encounter some sold-out stock.
But Helen said four weeks out is also a good time to scan the sales, as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales often offer good deals.
‘Start stocking up on your groceries at this point, especially the non-perishables – and it’s even better if you can buy them in bulk,’ Helen said.
‘You can also do the same for wine, beer and other drinks at this point.’
TWO WEEKS OUT: Be clever
Finally, with just two weeks to go, Helen explained that you could use last-minute shopping to your advantage.
‘Stock up on the Christmas decorations, foods and items that are now on sale as stores try to clear unsold goods,’ she said.
Even if it means you have too many and have to set them aside for the following year, the expert said they will always be useful and means you don’t have to spend again then when it’s full price.
Helen is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence. For more information, please click here.