11 March 2013
Surely Christmas has just been – we can’t be talking about the next one already?
That’s exactly what we need to do, says Raewyn Fox, CEO of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services.
“All the Christmas bills have now come in, and (hopefully) have been paid. You know, or can find out, what Christmas cost you in 2012. With that knowledge, it’s time to start budgeting for Christmas 2013,” Fox said.
Some key ways to do this are to make a plan, stick to it, and take advantage of specials throughout the year, Fox explains. “Your budget needs to include a plan to have enough set aside by December to cope with all the bills that seem to arrive at once. Preferably, include a bit extra to account for the unexpected; like when the family descends on your house and expects some food, or to be able to take some drinks and nibbles along to a party.”
During the year you may be able to take advantage of specials and sales for presents. “If you have a plan, you know what you’ll need by Christmas. With that knowledge, when you spot things you need at a good price, you can snap them up. Buying all your presents like this not only lowers the overall cost, but makes it feel like less of a burden because the cost is spread across the year,” Fox said.
“We suggest people are very cautious of Christmas hampers,” Fox said. “In our experience the most cost effective Christmas clubs are directly through the supermarkets, and payments can be made when you can afford it. Although if you can manage to put that money into a savings account instead, it gives you more flexibility and buying power at the end of the year.”
“Christmas can be a time of real stress, and we hear from our clients that one of the key reasons is the financial pressure they find themselves in,” Fox said. “Budgeting services, food banks, and other social support services are always extraordinarily busy around Christmas. With money being so tight at the moment we are expecting Christmas 2013 to be even worse. If we can get the message out to plan as early as possible, we might be able to save Christmas for at least a few families.”
Budgeting advice is offered free through the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, with over 150 locations throughout the country. You can find your nearest budgeting service by visiting www.familybudgeting.org.nz or calling 0508 BUDGETLINE (283 438).
About the NZFFBS Inc:
The NZFFBS Inc is a collective of community organisations that share a common code of ethics, philosophy, and commitment to delivering quality, free budgeting advice to families/whanau and individuals. The current membership comprises 150 budget services throughout New Zealand that employ over 1500 predominantly volunteer staff, who worked with over 41,000 clients last year. For free budgeting advice call 0508 BUDGETLINE (283 438).