In evidence that our prehistoric brains have not yet adapted to the consumer environment we live in, approximately half of Aussies are estimated to have a festive season debt hangover every January, making Christmas even more expensive.
Celebrations and gift-giving are so emotive it’s really easy to concoct a story to rationalise spending more. But it can come at the cost of your other important life goals.
This is not a character flaw – it’s a design flaw in our money systems.
Rather than criticising ourselves, we need a better system to circumvent our human foibles, especially since Christmas is a predictable occurrence.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals.James Clear, Atomic Habits
You fall to the level of your systems.”
The key money habit here is to plan for the predictable.
With the experience of the festive season still fresh now is the perfect time to start saving for next Christmas, and all predictable celebrations this year.
- Tally up the cost of the recent festive season (gifts, parties & holidays)
- Write a list of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year including birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations.
- Set a budget for each gift and event
- Calculate the amount per pay you need to set aside to cover the total yearly cost
- Start an automated saving plan into a dedicated high-interest account
- Refer to the budget before buying each gift!
Even, correction – especially if you have a debt hangover from December, it’s important to start this new habit right now.