Christmas is an expensive time of year for everyone and being one of the busiest times of year as well, it can be hard to find ways to save money. On average, Australians spend around $900 during the Christmas season and this can quickly add up when it comes to buying presents, decorations, food and drinks. Below are a few tips and ways to easily save some extra cash over Christmas and still enjoy the festive season.
The first place to start for the Christmas season, is to plan out your budget. This should cover everything from buying gifts, decorations, food, drinks to any travel expenses. There are so many great budget apps where you can easily input your expenses and manage your budget straight from you phone. The TrackMySPEND app by ASIC MoneySmart is the perfect way to monitor your spending and make sure you are on track to enjoy your Christmas, without entering into 2019 with a large credit card bill and debt hanging over your head.
Buying presents for family and friends is one of the quickest and easiest ways to spend money over the festive season. Whilst its nice to give and receive gifts, this is also one of the easiest ways to save money. Start by writing up a list of people who you need to buy a gift for. Once you have your list, set an overall budget and then divide that up between each family member or friend. It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your family and speak about setting a spending limit for gifts. That way everyone can receive an equal value gift, and everyone can also stick to a budget and save during this period. Also take the time to chat with friends about not giving gifts this Christmas and instead celebrate by having a get together where everyone brings a plate of food. If you like to give your friends gifts, why not instead donate to a charity on your friends behalf and help those in needs this Christmas.
Food and Drinks
Hosting Christmas lunch or dinner at your place is always a large expense. One way to ensure you can still host the family for Christmas and remain on budget, is to suggest that everyone who is attending firstly bring their own drinks for the day, and also ask each person to bring a plate of food. Take the time to plan out a menu and ask each person to bring something different. This way you can ensure there is enough food for everyone who is attending and also that your spread has enough variety and covers everything from salads, meats and snacks.
Decorations can be an expensive part of Christmas, especially if you like to change your theme every year. If you are changing your theme from last year, then start by cleaning out all your current Christmas decorations and selling anything you no longer need. Any money you make by selling last years decorations can go towards new decorations for this year. Another great way to save money on Christmas decorations is to make them yourself. DIY decorations not only help you to save a bit of extra cash but also add a bit of extra meaning behind your Christmas with personally made decorations. This is also a great activity to get the children involved in as well. Here is an easy and fun DIY Christmas decoration idea to make your own advent calendar out of old clothes.
Preparing your home
If you are hosting Christmas lunch or dinner, then you need to prepare your home for family and friends. Start by taking a weekend in early December to do a clean out. Get rid of any unnecessary items and make room for those who are coming to your house. If you have guests travelling from a far and are planning to stay at your home, then you need to prepare the guest room. Ensure fresh sheets and towels are available, clean out the guest wardrobe and make room for them to unpack their items. The guest room might not be a place you frequently use, so ensure everything in the room is working accordingly such as the ceiling fan, window coverings, etc. If you need to make some quick updates, get prepared early, as this will save you the run around as it gets closer to Christmas.
As Christmas Day approaches, take the time to clean up the backyard, do a big house clean and get any food items that can be purchased in advance throughout the month of December. Again, this will not only save you time but also help to spread out your budget.