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An Australian Christmas

Between buying presents, paying for flights to see relatives and all the other little costs that build up over the holiday season, it’s safe to say money is on everyone’s minds at this time of year.

In fact, Mozo research has revealed that 73% of Aussies are feeling at least a little financially stressed this Christmas, many even admitting that they’ll be limiting how much they spend on presents. Which is why this December it’s high time for us all to have that talk about good money habits we’ve been meaning to have.

So whether you’re hoping to broach the subject of spending less on presents or don’t want to fall off the wagon when it comes to managing your growing Afterpay obsession, here are some tips for starting the conversation.

Open up about your budget

The first step to talking to other people about money is to be honest about your own situation. At Christmas, this gives you the opportunity to set clear limits on what you’re willing to spend on pressies or even introduce the idea of not buying at all, so that everyone’s on the same page.

So, for example, you could say to your loved ones, “I want to let you know that I’m really feeling the pinch this year, so I’ll be hosting Christmas lunch instead of buying presents. Please don’t take it the wrong way, and of course I don’t expect a present from you this year.”

If they’re included in the nearly three-quarters of Aussies feeling the strain this Christmas, they’ll probably be really glad you brought it up. And you can use it as a starting point for a conversation around cutting down unnecessary spending and keeping a budget for the rest of the year as well.

Make your priorities clear

One thing to remember when bringing up money in the Christmas season is that Christmas isn’t really about presents - it’s about showing family and friends that you’re thinking of them. So, if you’re trying to cut back on the money you spend, think about other ways to make your priorities clear, like spending time with loved ones, helping them with jobs you have special skills in, or even giving DIY presents.

You can also take the chance to make people aware of bigger financial goals you’ve set and how that will impact your spending this Christmas.

For example, you might tell your family, “This year, I’m really focused on paying down some lingering credit card debt, so I’d love it if we can spend quality time together instead of buying presents. That’s what Christmas is all about anyway, right? What do you think?”

Lead by example

If you’re going to talk the talk about healthy spending habits this Christmas, it’s super important that you also walk the walk. This means having a clear plan for what good money behaviours you want to embrace in order to boost your financial health.

So at Christmas, you might suggest budget-friendly alternatives to the usual spending blowout, like a doing Secret Santa or agreeing on a family-wide spending limit. You can even make a point to your family that this way, no one’s left with a credit card debt hangover in the New Year.

Not sure how to start? Try this on for size: “I know we’re all in really different situations at the moment when it comes to money, so to keep things fair, maybe we should set a spending limit? I know it would help me to get organised and keep things under control!”

Picture of Kirsty Lamont wearing nice red jacket. Director of financial comparison website Mozo

Author bio:

Kirsty Lamont is a Director at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She is passionate about helping Australians get a better money deal and helping them make better, more informed choices.

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