Most of us overindulge at Christmas. What are your tips for having a fun and happy silly season without the financial hangover?

Santa and kidsNAH! Go the whole hog! Literally. Buy the fattened pig!

It’s the annual Christmas spendathon. Make it your mission to kick-start the economy. Why deny retailers a little Christmas joy? Get your credit card into a frenzy. Work it, baby! Until you can smell burning plastic.

I don’t need to tell you to do that. As a nation, that’s just what we do. Myself included.

Christmas is a time for indulgence. It’s special time with your family. We know we’ll spend more. So we just need to plan better for it.

I’m not a fan of going overboard on the whole presents thing, but … kids deserve to be spoiled every now and then. And if it’s their birthday and Christmas, well, that’s only twice a year and so be it.

But to avoid having a coronary when the January credit card bill arrives, be sensible.

Plan for it for the whole year. Spend a little less each week so you can blow an extra few thousand on Christmas. Build those savings up in your redraw or offset account, or the old Christmas Club accounts (although the interest rates are appalling).

For Xers with young kids, keep a lid on the cost of entertaining the blighters over the long school break.

Entertainment doesn’t always have to be expensive. Free stuff is aplenty. Outdoor sports, beach cricket, surfing, frisbee, family jigsaws and card games.

Memories and laughs with your kids are priceless. And it’s what they’ll remember most. And you’ll probably feel like a better parent and maybe even get fit yourself!

Bruce Brammall is the principal adviser with Bruce Brammall Financial ( and author of Debt Man Walking.