As the end of the year approaches, emotions are high in the air. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the general environment is a hive of frenzy, heightened buzz and plenty of spending to be done. Christmas is here in a few weeks, Boxing Day sales are just around the corner, school holidays are upon us and a new year is fast approaching.
With the permission of a new beginning in 2017, resolutions about different areas of life are gradually being acknowledged. I know I am thinking about crafting my 2017 canvas. Now, isn’t money always a hot topic for resolutions? Let’s face it, we all love spending and it is easier to do than saving, isn’t it? However, because most of us have mastered the art of spending, saving does occur as hard or it’s only done inside a context of sacrifice or missing out. Saving is a deliberate action. This is a discipline and understandably it’s not easy – but creating a fun structure around putting money aside can be simple & it's key that you start!
Whilst I think it’s rather pointless generating a message about budgeting awareness amongst all the current spending for Christmas, I know that people wished they had set aside money for this time of year so that they aren't stretching their credit card limit. So instead of putting off thinking about it, I’m going to highlight a few easy ways to kickstart your savings (maybe you can even start in December!) for 2017.
- The Coke Bottle/Money Jar - a picture of an empty coke bottle with $2 coins in it went viral last year, and it was mentioned that if you collected a full bottle (600ml) of $2 coins that you’ll have approx. $600. About 6 years ago, my husband counted his jar of coins which collected his loose change, and the few hundred dollars in it paid for our 2 night stay in The Dandenongs. So every cent counts, and when you put it altogether, it’s quite a sum of money!
- 52 Week Money Challenge – Another annual post that goes viral around New Year’s is this savings challenge. I’m not sure who actually came up with this method but it's simple and easy to follow. It starts off small and then builds weekly. Thus after accumulating money according to the week of the year (ie save $1 in Week 1, save $32 in Week 32), you’ll have $1378 dollars set aside by the 52nd week. Not too bad at all!
(picture source: facebook - referring savingabuck.com)
- Automated Savings - If you set up an automatic transfer from your main account into a savings account on a weekly basis, you can watch your savings build without physically doing anything about it. Just like tapping away on your credit card doesn’t quite bring you the awareness of the accumulated spending, by the same token if your transfers are done automatically then you won’t even be aware that there is x dollars less each week. Select an amount which works for you and then “set & forget”!
Bonus idea : Gift Cards!! - Another method is to purchase extra Gift Cards (that have a 1 year+ expiry) every time you head to the shops, put that Gift Card aside and you’ve accumulated your spending money for the end of year. Obviously you’re limited by the card's conditions & shops of where you can use the card, but it’s another physical way of accumulating “saved” funds for later spending.
I’m sure there are lots of other fun ways to create savings that don’t occur as hard work - so if you know of some please do share it with me. And in reality if your life circumstances change, your savings set aside for future expenditure (such as the Christmas fund) will become back-up if an emergency occurs during the year; so the next step in your savings goal should be to set up emergency funds for the curve balls which life throws at you.
Getting ready for the end of year is stressful & emotional. If the fundamentals of providing food, gifts, hospitality & charity are taken care of, then you can just get on with preparations &being in the festive mood. Come January I know a lot of families will be reviewing their budgets and spending habits for 2017, so be sure to keep watch on my facebook page for specials, tips & great resources!
Do keep well & safe through the Holiday Season and have yourself a very Merry Christmas! xx Fay
If you’d like help with your spending budget especially in the coming months, please reach out to me on the Contact Us page or my FB page. I always start with a 20 minute obligation free chat to get to know you and understand what you need.