Start saving for Christmas now

TOM HARTMANN
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2014
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PHOTOS.COM
START NOW: Christmas can be a budget breaker but not if you get organised with a savings plan early.

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Imagine a New Year where you weren't stressed about money.

I'd like to say "it's easy if you try", but the holidays may have left your finances hurting, and that's not easy at all.

A friend of mine's been complaining about her Christmas credit card debt. I think one of the worst things about it is that she starts the New Year stressed out. She says every year she just can't seem to stick to her Christmas budget, and Plan B is to pull out the credit card.

Putting it on the card certainly is "easy" - unfortunately too easy. I know; I've been there many times myself.

The secret to making a stress-free New Year a reality is to start doing something about it today.

Take a good look at how much you spent over Christmas - divide it by the number of paydays between now and December 2014 and start putting that much away now.

Make it automatic, even.

When this year's Christmas comes around, you'll be surprised how one or two hundred more dollars of wriggle room in your holiday budget can help keep you on track.

As for my friend, her New Year's resolution is to leave the credit card at home and use cash.

She thinks it will help her keep better tabs on her spending, so when Christmas comes around she'll have control of where her money goes.

Better still, she'll have less money stress to deal with for New Year's 2015.

Tom Hartmann is resident blogger at sorted.org.nz

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