How to control your spending this silly season

As the festive season nears, wallets and banks begin to poor out money making summer the most expensive season of the year.

The average Australian spends 30 per cent of their income on discretionary spending on normal days. However during silly season, that doubles to 60 per cent of their income.

So here are five tips to help manage your spending this silly season and avoid a financial hangover.

Make a budget

Whether you have a big or small family, it can be tempting to have a huge blowout of gifts. The easiest way to avoid this is by setting a strict budget and sticking to it. Budgets tend to go out the window in the last-minute rush, so get organised and plan around your pay cycle.

Plan Ahead

It's always nice to put aside $20 a week throughout the year so there's a handy $1000 in the bank come Christmas time but it's already December, so if that hasn't happened, don't panic.

The biggest blow to your budget this silly season will be last-minute purchases. To avoid this, begin with a list for everyone you need to buy something for; whether its family, friends or co-workers. Then write down ideas and include a budget for each and stick to it!

Don't wait til Christmas Eve, start now! There's no need to struggle with crowded shopping centres and the fight for a car park if your do it all online.

Get Creative

Don't forget that Christmas isn't about the presents. It's the thought that counts, and there's much more value in giving a homemade cake rather than a pair of socks. So whether it's cooking up some treats in the kitchen, getting crafty with handmade trinkets or sewing some wearable gifts, think about what you can do creatively. Check out sites like Pinterest and Etsy for some inspiration.

Use Cash

You probably know this by now, but paying by cash is one of the most effective ways to avoid a debt hangover in the New Year.

Swiping a credit card multiple times means it's easy to lose track of what you've bought until the dreaded bill comes. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Christmas credit card debt often peaks in February and this year it hit $50 billion.

Hunt for Discounts

Don't let those shopping skills go out the door come Christmas. Whether it's a one-off find at a market, a flash sale online, or a bargain bin, it's all about shopping around and never paying full price for anything.

Sign up to get email alters from your favourite stores, check the sales racks once you're in a store, and keep an eye out for things like free shipping online.

Nail these five tips and you'll be well on your way to saving this silly season.

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