With Christmas right around the corner, your weekends may be filled with shopping, holiday parties and getting your home ready for the holiday season. It’s an expensive time of year, with the average Australian predicted to spend $593 on Christmas presents alone.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday cheer and let your budget go out the window, you don’t have to spend another January steeped in credit card debt.
Keep reading for tips on how to how to save big this holiday season.
Set a budget
Before you do anything else, decide who you’ll be buying for this year and how much you want to spend on each person. You’ll want to do the same with party costs as well such as decorations, food and drinks. By breaking your budget out into presents vs. entertainment costs, you’ll get a better idea of what you’re up for this year and can budget accordingly.
For a little extra padding in your budget this holiday season, sell items you no longer need through Gumtree, Facebook marketplace or eBay, or you can even try a good old-fashioned garage sale.
DIY cards, wrapping paper & gifts
You don’t have to spend a fortune on wrapping paper and cards. Save this year instead with homemade cards (if you have kids this is the perfect craft for them!), ecards or wrapping paper you can use all year round. Butcher paper and twine is always a great go-to and it’s in favor at the moment.
A DIY gift may be a great option as well such as making baked goods, candles or bath salts. You can also offer to babysit, make a home cooked meal or clean the house for a loved one with a handmade gift voucher.
Scout out online deals
Make sure to subscribe to all of your favorite brand’s email marketing, as you get clued into all their upcoming sales and free shipping offers. Sometimes they even have different offers through their social media channels, so be sure to get social with them as well.
Change the way your family gifts
You could always switch up the family gifting tradition this year by going for a secret Santa or white elephant exchange – that way you’re only buying one gift instead of five, six, seven or more. Another option is a kid’s only Christmas, where you only buy presents for the children in your family/extended family.
Do a Christmas meal potluck
If you’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner, ask everyone to bring a dish rather than splashing out for the entire meal. This gives everyone a chance to contribute, takes the stress out of having to prepare everything and is great for your budget too!
Get friendly with the sales associates
When shopping in-store, make sure to ask the sales associates about any deals they have coming up. There may be a sale in the next few days that you can take advantage of – patience pays off!
Coupon apps like Groupon offer you access to local deals and discounts for a wide range of products & services – definitely worth checking out before you go through the check-out.
Don’t follow your budget every time
According to news.com.au, sometimes it’s better to disobey your budget. For example, if your budget is $50, but you find the perfect gift for $30, don’t feel the need to spend another $20 on something else – just leave it at that.
Pay in cash
This is a really effective way to limit yourself because it’s a visual reminder of what you have and once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can take this one step further and even leave your cards at home so there’s no temptation to overspend.
Check your local outlet malls
Visit your local outlet mall for great deals on brands you know your friends and family love already.
If you’re patient you can score some great second hand deals at your local op shop.
Go in on a gift with someone
When you decided split a gift with someone else you can get a bigger gift for that special someone without spending as much money.
Search for online coupons before you buy
Do a quick google search for discount codes before you make your purchases.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a price match if you’ve found a cheaper price online or at another store. Many stores offer this nowadays so it’s definitely worth asking.
Get the kids involved
If your children are old enough, let them contribute to the cost of gifts for their friends or grandparents. It will help teach them the value of money and they’ll feel great knowing they helped out.
Remember it’s the thought that counts
You don’t need to break the bank to show your friends and family how much you care. It can be really tempting to overspend during the Christmas season, but it truly is the thought that counts. With a bit of preparation and creativity you can have a memorable holiday season and head into the new year with your budget intact.
For other ways to save over the silly season, check out this article on how to keep your kids entertained over the holidays without blowing your budget.
If you need help managing your finances over the silly season, get in touch with our friendly team at 1300 368 322. We’ve helped thousands of Australians achieve financial freedom and we’d love to help you too this holiday season.