October's Money Challenge: Prepare For Your Holiday Spending

This year, most of our money challenges have focused on saving, from your mobile phone bill to your restaurant spending to your debt interest. This month, we're throwing out a different challenge: Come up with a holiday spending plan. Photo by Sunny Studio

Holiday spending can wreck your budget, or worse, your finances. Consumer counselling organisations see 25 per cent more clients after the holidays and, on average, Australians accrue $1600 of holiday credit card debt.

In October, we challenge you to come up with a holiday spending plan so you can avoid any and all debt. It's not a challenge that produces instant results, but it's still an important one. Here's how you can participate.

  • Calculate your discretionary spending amount: Figure out how much money you'll have over the next couple of months to spend on non-essentials.
  • Make a list of your holiday expenses: This calculator can help you plug in numbers for common expenses, like travel, gifts, parties and so on.
  • Come up with some numbers: Based on your discretionary spending amount, come up with a realistic spending plan for each holiday-related expense.
  • Find ways to cut back or earn more: If you're stretched thin and your expenses exceed your cash flow, decide what expenses you'll cut over the next couple of months to make room for your extra spending. Or, if your holiday budget just isn't doable, you may have to adjust some of your expenses. Otherwise, you can vow to find ways to earn extra cash between now and the holidays.

If you're in, let us know and tell us what your biggest holiday expenses are.


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