10 Tips to save money at Christmas
Christmas for most of us is a magical time of year but the post Christmas blues come when those credit card bills start to roll in and the bank account is empty. If you plan carefully and take the time to think about your costs, you can save a lot of money on unnecessary expenses. Here are the top 10 tips to save money at Christmas.
Set your Christmas budget in advance.
Impulse buying and not having a set guideline for each purchase is why most over spending happens at Christmas. Work out exactly what you will need to buy this Christmas, include gifts, decorations, catering & event costs. Set a budget for each item and keep a record of each purchase so you can see where you are over or under budget at any time. You can download our free Christmas Budget Planner here.
Talk to your family about setting a gift limit.
Have a conversation with your extended family about setting limits on gift spending. You may find they will be relieved and very keen to save some money themselves. Decide on a limit that is comfortable for everyone and if you have a large family, you can even suggest only purchasing for the children or buying one gift for each family unit or doing a Kris Kringle / Secret Santa where you draw names from a hat and only purchase for that person.
Trim the fat on gift giving.
Do you really need to buy a present for all your neighbours and those friends you only see once a year at Christmas? Have a good look at the list of people you buy gifts for and see if there is anyone you can remove. Have a chat with those people and let them know your cutting down on Christmas and would love to spend time with them without the expense of buying gifts. Once again they may be pleased they can save the money as well.
Make your own Christmas gifts.
You can save a lot of money by using your talents to make your own gifts. Are you good at knitting, woodwork, sewing, decoupage, putting together a basket or cooking? Below are just a few DIY gift ideas. For more you can google DIY Gifts or find thousands of DIY gift ideas on Pinterest.
- Make a book of your best recipes for that person who loves to cook
- Make a gift voucher for your loved ones for tasks like babysitting, moving the lawns, cooking them a meal, giving them a massage
- Put together a basket with a collection of items you know that person would enjoy
- Make some delicious sweet treats and present them in an old jar with Christmas ribbon
Personalised photo gifts.
Websites like Vistaprint or Snapfish are great for creating amazing personalised photo gifts. You can upload images onto an enormous range of items and personalise them for you loved ones. The prices are really cheap with calendars from $7 or mugs from $5. Another great thing about these sites is you get fantastic discounts if you purchase more than one of any item so make that great photo calendar with pictures of your family on each month and give it to both sets of Grandparents.
Cut out unnecessary items.
There are a lot of things we purchase at Christmas that are really unnecessary. Go through your list and see what things you can exclude or replace with something cheaper. These may include;
- not having bons bons on the table
- sending e-cards or a Christmas video message online instead of posting Christmas cards
- using cheaper wrapping paper without the fancy Christmas ribbon or having gifts wrapped free of charge from some stores
Spend some time researching your purchases online before you buy gifts. If you search for a product on Google and then click on the shopping tab – you will get a list of the stores you can buy that product and what prices they sell for. Also consider discount sites like dealsdirect.com.au, oo.com.au and groupon.com.au . You can often purchase items from these online sites at extremely discounted prices and don’t forget ebay – it’s a great money saving site, just make sure you check sellers credentials before you buy.
Switch your supermarket.
The food bill over Christmas can be a big one so think about shopping at cheaper stores like Aldi. As well as discounted party food, these supermarkets stock good-quality festive treats that family will love. It’s also a good idea to start sticking up on the perishable items in advance so you don’t have one huge bill the week of Christmas, start purchasing items like Christmas pudding, canned and frozen foods in the weeks ahead with your regular shopping to distribute the cost a little.
Cut the drinks bill.
Your alcohol bill can be a big one over the festive season so plan in advance and use online discount stores to get a bargain. Sites like dealsdirect.com.au, oo.com.au and groupon.com.au offer bulk Alcohol purchases at highly discounted prices. You can also make events BYO so everyone brings their own alcohol or make a bowl of punch with a relatively cheap bottle of wine, one litre of tropical or breakfast juice and one litre of lemonade. This is a refreshing drink that goes a long way and wont break the bank.
Share the costs.
We’ve all heard the age old question “what can I bring?” many times. This year think about the people coming to your events and share the cost and the workload. If you have someone who loves to bake, ask them to make a special desert, if you have someone who is into health and fitness, ask if they can make up a beautiful salad.