Many Australians will be tightening their belts this Christmas, due to the raising costs of living. With 40.3% of Australians believe they will spend less this Christmas compared then they have in the past, according the recent Compare the Market research. On average Australians spend $716 on Christmas.
We’ve seen energy bills soar, the price of groceries reaching new heights, the halving of the fuel excise end and our insurance premiums increase, and mortgage repayments increase. It’s not surprising that around half of Australians will be spending less or looking to make savings this Christmas.
Aside from spending less on Christmas presents and meals, the research also found that Australians will be looking for other ways to decrease spending cash in the summer months. The results found that:
- 3% of households won’t put up Christmas lights or will put up less than they did in the past
- 8% will run the air-con less
- 7% will ditch the extra fridge or freezer at Christmas
- 10% will switch appliances off at the wall
- 8% will rely on their solar panels during the day when solar power is generated
Australians are spending even more for essentials like groceries and fuel, many families will be feeling the pinch this silly season.
To help you manage your spending over the Christmas period, its crucial to start with a plan and monitor your spending. We have compiled a list of suggestions to help you keep your spending in check this Christmas and beyond.
Set a Budget
Prior to starting your Christmas shopping, decide how much you want to spend.
Remember, Christmas spending includes not only presents but also travel, food and decorations.
Divide your budget into four different categories:
- How much do you want to spend on gifts?
- How much on travel costs?
- How many special events are there during Christmas and how much will they cost?
- How much do you want to spend on food and decorations?
Set aside time to sit down and sort out how much you can afford to spend on gifts this season, list the people you need to buy gifts for, and figure out what you could get them within your budget. Most importantly, stick to the budget.
If the numbers are not lining up, then you need to look at where you can make sacrifices within your budget. You may need to cut down on Christmas parties this year to keep to your spending budget or maybe suggest a family Secret Santa for a growing extended family that is killing your budget.
Track your spending
Suggest a family Secret Santa
Using a Secret Santa is not only an improvement on the wallet, but it also it encourages more thoughtful gifts. Secret Santa is not a new concept, but it’s very easy to put in place. Set a clear budget spend for Secret Santa, generally between $75 to $100 is the norm.
Usually, Secret Santa’s are just for adults in your family, but you can opt for a family-wide Secret Santa if you like. Place all the adults in the draw each year and then you can choose how you wish to give gifts for the children in the family. Whether it may be a small gift for each child, as Christmas is all about the kids, right?
There are many benefits adopting a family Secret Santa including spending much less, less stress over what to get everyone, and the ability pick a wonderful gift for one person and save time on shopping.
There are two ways you can go about setting up your Secret Santa, there the old fashion way by pulling the names out of the hat or you can employ online Secret Santa tools. Elfster is excellent online tool, which allows you manage your Secret Santa in the one place, draws out the gift exchanges and you can even put in wish lists to assist your Secret Santa.
Make sure you set a price limit on Christmas presents and stick to it. If you find what you’re after for less than the limit set, than smile and use the extra cash to pay off debts or save towards something nice.
Prior to you head out to the shops, head online. You can compare prices on Google or visit retail websites to find out their prices. Many sites incorporate buyer reviews which can help you make an informed choice before you buy.
Most importantly start your shopping early, not the week before Christmas, buy gifts when you see them. Look out for sales throughout the year. The biggest retail week coming up with Black Friday on the 25th of November, followed by Cyber Monday on 28th of November. Beware of overspending and using your credit card to make the purchase, as it could mean that you lose the bargain, so stick to your budget.
You will also find unique and expensive gifts at op shops, antique stores, and secondhand bookshops. If you’re in a relationship, consider setting the spending limits or take yourself and your partner out for a nice dinner instead.
Utilise your shopping loyalty points
Use Buy-now-pay-later in moderation
Resist the urge to treat yourself
Reduce spending at Christmas parties
A big expense is the parties that come hand in hand with Christmas. To make sure you don’t overspend, limit your spending from the beginning. Take out a pre-determined amount of cash and put that in your wallet to physically limit the amount you can spend on the night out. Save temptation and leave your credit cards at home to ensure you won’t overspend.
Also, why not consider your health when attending Christmas parties? Give a thought to your health before going out for the third time in a week, and not only will your body be grateful, but your wallet won’t be too upset either.
Save on travel cost
Many Australians will be looking to fly to coop and travel to visit family and holiday this Christmas period. A summer break can be more expensive than you think and can often become the biggest cost of the Christmas season.
A way to keep costs down, why not go camping? If you family is the outdoorsy or adventurous type, it might be the perfect way to escape and keep costs down. While there are still a handful of costs such as petrol, site fees and food etc. camping is generally considered cheaper than any other type of holiday.
You might be able to afford a full-price summer holiday, but a bit of a discount goes a long way towards your Christmas budget. Keep a close eye on bargain holiday sites such sites as Lastminute, Wotif.com, and Airbnb or Stayz, where you might find the same or a similar holiday for a lower price. Shopping around never hurt anyone.
A different opportunity is taking small day trips and exploring small country towns close to home. You’ll get the same feeling of exploring a new place and with the added benefit of saving on accommodation costs.
Have you considered a Staycation instead? Why not holiday in your own home and make the most of what your local area has to offer? Stock up on games and movies, and plan activities like family days out and you might have more fun at home than you would away.
Planning for Christmas
Start thinking about putting money aside in a Christmas savings plan or spread your gift buying throughout the year when you have some extra cash. With a little bit of forethought, you can make next Christmas even easier.
Christmas can be a stressful time for a variety of reasons, but by planning and tracking your spending, you can avoid mounting debt and enjoy a worry-free holiday season.