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    Whack on your red hat and fire up the reindeer, it’s that time of year again!

    Most of us love Christmas: presents, sunshine and holidays. What’s not to like?

    The challenge is making sure your Christmas cheer doesn’t become New Year pain when you realise how much you’ve spent. In today’s “buy now, pay later” society it’s all too easy to tap and worry about it later.

    The problem is, later comes up fast often leaving us with that “what have I done?” feeling and Ho Ho Ho quickly becomes Why Why Why?!

    One thing’s for sure, by January Christmas is going to feel like a distant memory, so let’s look at a few ways you can act like Santa and remain jolly in 2020.

    Make a list and check it twice
    How many times have you driven to the mall to buy presents with no real plan? You might roughly know who you’re going to buy for, but most of us just wander from shop to shop hoping to stumble across something. This often leads to multiple visits to the mall and spending more than you want to as you become more and more frustrated.

    This year is going to be different. Before you make that harrowing journey to the crowded mall take a little time to make a list of the people you want to buy for and what you think they might like, within your budget of course. You will be amazed how empowered and in control this will make you feel and how much money and stress it will save you. If you only do one thing differently this Christmas, make it this.

    Don’t throw away shopping catalogues
    This time of year, the mailbox is full of shopping catalogues and most of us toss them straight into the bin. For the next few weeks hold onto them, then sit down one night with a glass of wine and flick through them. With your list in hand you might be able to cross off a few names in one hit and even save a few dollars in the process. At the very least you’ll know what each store has which will save you time.

    Look like Santa but think like Scrooge
    I know this isn’t a time of year that you would typically associate with sales, but you may be surprised at what deals are floating around. Retail has had a tough year and pre-Christmas sales are becoming more and more common. Keep an eye out for sales and be ready to pounce, even if you only buy a few gifts at a discount it will save you money.

    The best deals are not always at the mall
    I know it’s convenient to go to the mall but don’t forget to check out your local shops. As well as supporting your community, independent retailers are often very competitive and they want your business, often their prices are the same or even cheaper than the shopping centres so do the right thing and give your locals a shot.

    A pre-Christmas eBay session
    If you’re wondering how to get a few extra dollars together for presents this could be it. Like most of us, I bet you have hordes of stuff that you’ve barely used, some if it might even be gifts from last Christmas. Here’s your chance to declutter and make some money. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Spend a few hours gathering some items that you don’t really want and list them on eBay or another sales platform, you’ll not only free up some space but you might make that extra cash you need for Christmas.

    Presents you can’t afford for people you don’t like
    Ok, that might be a little harsh, but have you ever exchanged presents with family and friends that, let’s be honest, were not all that exciting? You know what I mean, you give a candle and receive a bowl…

    Let’s not forget that when it comes to presents, other than a few big kids that you want to spoil, Christmas is really all about the young ones. There’s nothing better than seeing the joy in their eyes when they see Santa’s been and they tear into their presents like a possessed mountain lion.

    For the most part, many adults would be just as happy with a nice meal and a few drinks with close family and friends. While it might take a little courage to say, “hey guys, let’s pass on the presents this year”, I’m sure many would welcome this, and they might even thank you for being the one to bring it up as chances are they’re feeling the same way.

    Even if you only do one or two of these things it can have a big impact. With a little planning you can keep your silly season spending in check and have the best Christmas ever.

    Ok, off you go and spread the Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas, everyone!

    John Dickinson

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    Original Article