Christmas is upon us again –  Ebenezer Scrooge wants to dole out some money advice!

Before you set off on your merry way to purchase all your Christmas essentials, let me suggest you should create a budget first. Nobody likes doing a budget –  but nobody likes being stressed in January when the Visa bill comes in!

A budget has an amazing effect.  It shows you how easy it is to waste all your hard-earned money in one month –  if you’re not focussed.

  • List all the people you need to buy presents for.
  • List all the Christmas bits & pieces.  (Don’t forget to set aside money for Christmas parties and nights out.)
  • Be realistic –  be prepared to cut a few non-essentials to balance your budget.

Irish Society is now burdened with debt. I suggest you speak to family & friends on setting a cap on Christmas presents –  for each other. Not only will this help your budget –  but it might also really help your family to cope financially at Christmas.

If you’re planning to go wild this Christmas and purchase a big-ticket item, then great. You have my permission to go out & buy it. Enjoy the purchasing experience &  good feelings you get from your new Christmas gift.

NOW of course, I’m assuming you’re buying this big-ticket item from savings. If you need to borrow money for this purchase, or to pay for any part of Christmas, then STOP.

Don’t even go there with the excuses…

If you can’t pay for Christmas from savings, you need to take drastic action. Do not get into the habit of borrowing money to pay for things. You might think it’s important to spoil your kids at Christmas –  but I think it’s more important to teach them good money management skills.

Make your 2011 resolution today –  and have a Merry Christmas & Prosperous New Year –  without debt!

Allan Matthew Cuthbert t/a Financial Wellbeing is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to advice on Mortgage,Savings, Life and Pension products