Out here in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes with stress !
It's just in time for our summer holidays, sweltering heat, and awesome rains (if you're lucky), that send our gardens into over-productive chaos and the kids so grumpy, as they finish the school year and demand the best holiday ever ..again.
The political mayhem escalates, as governments try to reorganise themselves. Economic forecasts, result in crazy downgrades, which push business confidence to newer levels of perceived craziness.
During all this the ladies are rushing around, trying to make ends meet and trying to figure out how to provide items of value to put under the Christmas tree.
Ahoy, the retailers are booming, the radio tell us, after an awful 12 months.
I wonder where all the money suddenly came from ?? !
To top it, some industries decide to really throw the spanner in the works and shut down from 16 December to mid January , just to push the envelope even further and make the traffic even more manic. This results in courier companies racing around the city, trying to deliver all those 'should have been there yesterday' parcels, that should actually have been sent last month.
Oh, the chaos in Africa is glorious ! NOT !!
So how do you keep that infamous chaos and debt createing wolf away from your own door , when all the Christmas meal planners, to do lists and gift ideas come flooding into your inbox?
I'm afraid you have to ask the really boring question ....
What can I afford?
Seriously folks, shut down your advertising gateway that opens so wide to the marketers this time of year and lets get serious.
Those splurges that happen at this time of year, land up hurting for at least the next 6 months of next year.
Here are some key pointers to help you stay focused and build a barrier to keep that wolf from your door.
11 Quick and Easy Ways to Avoid the Stress
What is your actual income this month? Make a realistic budget of your actual needs and then look at what's left to tackle Christmas with. If you don't have access to one, Try the one I'm offering for free at the bottom of this post.
Don't forget about the schooling needs for New Year. When are they due? They may need to go into Decembers' budget so you're not red faced when the school asks for fees next year
Do a full months menu plan. Don't be haphazard. But be realistic. You are an excellent cook , and with a few nice sauces added to your great meals will be brilliant and loved by the family. Don't buy up half of the other side of the world to produce the perfect meal. It really hurts the pocket!
Keep to your time schedule if you're making home made gifts . Nothing is loved more by retailers than your last minute, I ran out of time, shopping. Those usually need the credit card to hauled out.
On that note , stay away from your credit card. Run on cash and be realistic.
Check your bulk retails for specials and get it done in one big shop.
Stick to your shopping list, then stick to your menu plan and you will be pleasantly surprised !
Be willing to compromise, and create surprises for yourself in how you do things. The popular items often get such price hikes , they really can wait to January to be enjoyed by your family. Find something else to make or bake that uses items that ARE in your price range.
It may be worth your health to stay off the roads, and make use of online shopping this year. You are less influenced by the retailers, can still use a shopping list , and are less prone to impulse purchases. Besides, the couriers are doing the deliveries for everyone else anyhow. Just don't leave it to last minute, your it wont be under your Christmas tree... .
Have fun !
Leave time to breathe, so that you're not a lump of flabby, exhausted jelly by the end of the festive season. It doesn't make sense to burn your self out , when you need the energy to enjoy and prosper in the new year .
Hope those are some helpful tips, to help you stay focused with the run up to Christmas and New Year.
Yours in debt free, productivity and a Christmas without stress !
- PS To see my free budget form to help you get through, Please see below