This year, more than ever, many families are needing to tighten their belts and rein in the festive spending. But that doesn’t have to mean wearing a Grinch hat. With a little planning and creativity, it IS possible to avoid a budgetary blowout while celebrating December 25th in style. So, for a holly, jolly good time these holidays – minus the financial hangover, read on. Here are six easy ways to spend less this Christmas.
1. Create a budget – and don’t budge from it!Setting a budget is a smart move at any time of year, but it’s especially crucial coming up to the Christmas and New Year’s period. It’s typically one of the busiest, most social and – you guessed it – expensive times of the year, so it’s important to budget accordingly. Don’t even think about entering December without a clear idea of what you can realistically spend on gifts, entertainment, food, drink and travel without ending up in the red. Once you’ve set your budget? Be strong! Don’t be swayed by ‘bargains’ you don’t really need or fall for aggressive marketing campaigns. Remember the real meaning of the holiday – spending time with family and friends – and don’t believe you have to spend loads on gifts to show how much you care.
2. Make your own giftsIf 2020’s taught us anything, it’s the satisfaction that can be gained from DIY. Making something from scratch, whether that’s baking some festive treats, making scented candles or soaps is good for the soul. And it’s great for the wallet as well! Christmas is the ideal time to put those talents acquired during lockdown to good use and cook/ craft/ paint/ stitch or whittle this year’s gifts. Not only will your loved ones appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in, you’ll love avoiding the last-minute gift-buying crush.
3. Turn unwanted items into cash.If your DIY skills leave a lot to be desired and you still need to purchase gifts, try rifling through your cupboards, drawers and garage. We’ve ALL got unloved, unused items gathering dust and it’s surprisingly easy to turn them into cold hard cash. Try selling your unwanted items on Gumtree, eBay or one of the hundreds of Facebook selling groups. You can then use the proceeds from any sales to buy this year’s Chrissie gifts, or help pay for that giant ham. And if something doesn’t sell? Donate it to your local charity shop and you just might make someone else’s Christmas a little merrier.
4. Throw a Christmas picnic
Instead of sticking with a traditional hot turkey roast with the trimmings this Christmas, why not take a more casual approach? We’ve all been cooped up for much of the year, so a relaxed backyard, park or beach picnic will make a welcome change – and be a total hit with the kids.
Pack an esky or two with ice and ask your guests to each bring their favourite festive dish and chosen drop. You’ll save bucketloads on catering, get to try a variety of delicious foods, and avoid much of the stress – and clean up! – that comes with hosting Christmas lunch at home. Just remember to pack the sunscreen, find a shady spot and stay hydrated!
5. Make money while you shop!
Some extra shopping around Christmas time is pretty much unavoidable and, admit it, it can also be a lot of fun. However, it does pay – literally! – to shop smart. Shopa Save allows you to earn cash back while you shop, whether that’s in-store, on your couch or on the go. Simply download the app and join for free, link your Visa or Mastercard, then earn cash back in your account when you shop at participating retailers. Earning cash while you shop – what’s not to love?
Think Secret Santa
If your family resembles the Brady Bunch, gift giving can be an extremely expensive affair. Thankfully, Secret Santa isn’t just for the office Christmas party! In a family Secret Santa (or Kris Kringle), each person is given a single person to buy a gift for, while receiving a gift from THEIR Secret Santa. A budget is then usually set to ensure a bit of an even playing field.
Only having to buy for one person both allows you to save money and gives you the luxury of time to select a personal, meaningful gift. You’re also likely to end up with a gift you like instead of a pile of last-minute gifts destined for land fill. Or Gumtree (see point 3).
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