UnitingCare Queensland (‘UCQ’) Child and Family Services has released its list of financial tips to help families keep debt under control this holiday season.
UCQ Child and Family Services Financial Resilience and Wellbeing Service are reaching out to Queenslanders with handy hints to keep Christmas spending and debt as low as possible.
UCQ Statewide Manager Financial Resilience and Wellbeing Service Jodie Logovik said feeling the pinch at Christmas time is not uncommon and stressed the importance of managing debt and budgets this time of year.
“We always say, try to keep in mind that Christmas is just one day of the year and it’s about sharing time with family and friends, not feeling pressured into buying lots of things.
“It’s not uncommon, particularly with the rise in the cost of living, for people to experience financial hardship around Christmas. Getting into debt is much easier than we think.
“There are several strategies people can employ this Christmas season to keep their spending in check and some great steps on how to still enjoy the festive season without taking on additional debt” she said.
Putting a budget in place, planning ahead early and giving the gift of time to your family and friends are all ways to help ease the financial pressures that can be associated with Christmas for some families.
“You don’t have to buy someone a gift, make them a voucher for babysitting, mowing the lawn or washing the car instead—gifting your time can be more valuable than purchasing an unwanted gift.
“Setting up a Secret Santa within the family and buying non-perishable food items early will all contribute to creating savings at Christmas time but most importantly budgeting early will result in the biggest cost saving during what is a very expensive time of year” Ms Logovik said.
The UCQ Financial Resilience and Wellbeing Service assists Queenslanders in confidentially navigating finances and debt and provides a range of services free of charge for those experiencing financial hardship.
Anyone can call Queensland’s National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 and speak to a UCQ Child and Family Services Financial Counsellor or make an appointment for a face to face meeting regarding their financial situation.
UCQ Child and Family Services Financial Tips for Christmas
- Think forward to February and how it feels to have not added to existing credit card – Remember, Christmas is about sharing time with family and friends, not gift giving
- Plan ahead and early – creating a budget and following it will bring the greatest reduction in financial costs this Christmas
- Consider starting a money plan and saving a small amount each week for next Christmas
- Make a list of all the people you intend to buy gifts for and allocate what you can afford to spend on each as well as listing costs for food, travel and other expenses
- Set up Secret Santa wherever possible or combine with others to purchase gifts, this will reduce the number of gifts you have to give
- Make gifts such as cakes, pickles or personalised soaps, these are often more special than anything you can buy
- Give the gift of time – make a voucher to babysit, wash the car or mow the lawn
- Set aside an amount for Christmas lunch and then ask all family members to bring a plate of food to share
- Shop around for the best deal – just a small amount of research on a toy can reduce the amount you will pay significantly
- Celebrate with the family at a local community event
- Pay an extra $5 or $10 per week on your rent throughout the year, that way when Christmas comes around you are a week in advance and can use the extra rent money for presents UCQ Child and Family Services Strategies to help with Debt
- Start by acknowledging that the debt exists and then create a plan to work towards paying it off
- You are not alone – debt and financial hardship happens to people from all walks of life and there are many situations outside of our control such as job loss, sickness or relationship breakdowns that can quickly impact finances
- Be kind to yourself, it took time to grow the debt, it will take time to pay it off
- Create a budget that suits you and allows you to track spending leaks for example, a $5 coffee each weekday for 48 weeks totals $1200 for the year
- Cancel your credit card redraw facility and ask to be switched to a low rate card
- Put your hand up early for help, call 1800 007 007 and speak with a financial counsellor who can look at your financial situation and assist you with strategies to get back on track