Can you believe it’s only 8 weeks until Christmas? Or, for those with kids who count sleeps, there are 59! Most of you reading this probably haven’t started your Christmas shopping, or if you have, you certainly haven’t finished. If you have, well done!
You may be wondering why we’re giving you financial tips at Christmas. Well, Jesus encourages us to count the cost before we act. He gives us the wisdom with regards to counting the cost of following him, but it is also a good general principle to follow.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30)
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty (Proverbs 21:5)
So, the financial tips below are because God speaks of the wisdom of planning, sometimes specifically with our finances.
- Budget – pre-determine how much you are going to spend, set an upper limit for each person
- Get thrifty – are there items around the house you don’t need that maybe someone else would want? Sell them on marketplace, gumtree etc for some extra cash OR if your budget is doing ok, consider giving them away
- Research – look at options online first so that you get the best price and don’t just wind up buying the first thing you see
- Shop sensibly – set yourself a time where you can shop without rushing so you don’t find yourself going “that’ll do, it’s more expensive than I intended but I don’t have time”; have a list with the limits you worked on back in step 1; make sure if you’re buying presents for family that everyone is on the same page (e.g. kids only)
- Avoid credit where possible – only buy what you can afford
- Presents – think about whether you can give to ministries, rather than presents, or could you buy ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’
That’s just a few ideas. The main thing is to stop and think about it. So many people start the year off in debt because they didn’t plan well for Christmas and it can become a really stressful time of the year. Let’s all try and honour God in the way we steward the resources he has given us, even (or especially) at Christmas.