It’s the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy Williams. However, this year may be a bit different, with many Australians planning a simpler Christmas. Here are some easy ways to have a wonderful Christmas on a budget (without being a scrooge).
- Set a spending limit for gifts and stick to it – According to the comparison site Finder.com.au, Aussies spent $18.8 billion collectively on Christmas last year which equates to an average of $969 per person. Avoid the gift of awkwardness by pre-setting a gift spend limit with your family and friends. Perhaps you will decide to buy gifts only for the children in your family this year. Or, try Secret Santa and buy one present instead of many.
- Use a Christmas list to plan your spending – Apparently, Santa checks his list twice so make a list detailing those you are buying for and the agreed spend limits. It's a good idea to include estimates for food, drinks and any entertainment and/or travel expenses. Compare this list against your Christmas budget and identify if any savings can be made.
- Share Christmas catering – If you’re hosting a Christmas gathering, ask those attending to help by bringing salads, nibbles, drinks or desserts. You could suggest bringing food that is portioned, instead of sharing several dishes. Please check COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines on your state government’s website in advance to ensure that you and your guests remain safe.
- Have a pre-Christmas garage sale – Not only are you likely to raise some additional money for Christmas expenses, but your good-quality sale items may help someone else who’s looking for budget Christmas gifts. A garage sale may also help prevent your unwanted items ending up in landfill.
- Compare prices – Whether you prefer to shop online or in store, research Christmas gifts and food online to find the best prices. If you decide to shop online, order as early as possible to avoid disappointment and always check the delivery information provided. Also, beware of online scams as fraudsters are more active during key shopping periods in the hope that busy online shoppers will be less vigilant. You may find our online security articles useful.
- Look out for sales and online discounts – As well as sales in your local shopping centre, many online stores offer discounts. There are also online shopping events where bargains can be found. However, when shopping online, beware of online scams. Be suspicious of luxury items offered at very low prices and research the seller before making any purchases. You may find the article Watch out for online shopping scams this holiday season useful.
- Use loyalty card credits – Check the terms and conditions for loyalty card schemes to which you belong and find out if you can apply them to your Christmas shopping.
- Regift – The idea of regifting may not appeal to you, but it is widely practised. Your good-quality, unwanted gift may delight another recipient. However, the art of regifting involves some critical considerations:
- If you do not think that the item makes a great gift, and you would not buy it yourself, don't regift it.
- Having decided that the item is a great gift for your intended recipient, gift it in its original packaging.
- Double check the item for any personalised gift tags or cards to save embarrassment.
- Take care when choosing the recipient as it's very important that you do not accidentally regift the item to the original gift giver.
- Check the item for 'use by' or 'best before' dates, and never gift an item that has a use by date that is about to expire or has expired.
- Add a thoughtful, personal touch to the gift, such as including homemade Christmas cookies with a regifted coffee mug.
- It's generally best not to tell the recipient that their gift has been regifted.
- Give handmade gifts – You may have a talent for baking, quilting, crafting accessories, or even growing fabulous poinsettias. Let your creative talent shine by gifting a handmade or homegrown item that’s sure to be unique.
- Budget for next Christmas as early as possible – Even a small contribution of $25 a week, starting from your first pay in January, could amount to approximately $1,250 in December. This could help ease the financial burden of next year’s festive period. Use our handy Budget Planner to review your monthly income and expenses.
The challenges of 2020 may have helped us appreciate the simpler things in life. Good health and spending time with family and friends, even online, are surely the most rewarding Christmas presents.
We’re ready to help you
If you need a little extra help with Christmas expenses this year, our award-winning low rate credit card* and personal loan* offer great value and flexibility. As for next Christmas, we offer a Christmas Account* to help our members put aside money for the busy festive period. We can also organise a direct credit from your payroll, so you do not have to worry about transferring the funds yourself. Contact us to find out more.
*Eligibility criteria, terms & conditions and fees & charges apply.