xmasWith the holiday season fast approaching, it’s tempting to throw out the year’s planning to engage in some fun consumption. But getting into the spirit doesn’t mean you have to go into debt.

Follow these tips to start 2017 debt free.

Set a cash flow plan

First take some time out to review your current finances (if you want a copy of our Cash flow planner email the office) Determine how much you can realistically afford to spend without going into debt for it!  Remember to include gifts and entertainment as well as all the small things that come with the season like cards, stamps, decorations, food and travel.  Also consider some more creative gifts to give that don’t cost you money…

Start early

By shopping early, you can look out for sales and great deals for later in the year.  You also have time to comparison shop rather than last-minute shop; where your panic to pick up something (anything) will usually mean spending more.  Also check out the online stores that may require some delivery time but will get you a great discount!

Look for savings and incentives

If you choose to use your credit card, look for any rewards or discounts that may be available through your credit provider.  Also try to shop online first as you’re less likely to impulse shop and can easily compare prices across various websites. There are plenty of online retailers that offer savings across a number of product categories such as fashion, skincare, make up, fragrances, books and electrical appliances. You can also find discounts through online community classifieds, auctions and daily deal sites.

Remember who you’re shopping for

When you’re shopping for family and friends, it’s very easy to find things that will be just perfect for yourself. This is a very common mistake that is sure to break your budget. Christmas shopping isn’t a ‘one for you, one for me’ deal. Don’t buy it. If you really need to have it, wait until after the holidays when it’s more likely to be on sale.   Or do what a few of my clients do and shop for next Christmas during the post Christmas sales!

Stick to your plan

Remember that a deal is not a deal if you can’t afford it. Once you reach your budget limit, stop.

Save early

Get off the overspending merry-go-round by saving early for next year. As soon as the holiday season is over, determine next year’s Christmas spend and set up automatic direct debits into a dedicated Christmas savings account. You’ll be all set by the time the department stores bring out their tinsel again.


Seek out further advice and start your journey to being free around your money and creating wealth with understanding.


Scott Malcolm has been awarded the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planning Association of Australia and is Director of Money Mechanics.  Money Mechanics is a fee for service financial advice firm who partner with clients in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney to achieve their life and wealth outcomes. We are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.

The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.