Create memories not debt

Christmas isn’t just about buying gifts. It’s also about spending time with loved ones and making the most of your time off.

Spend smart this Christmas

Saving money on Christmas presents

Gifts can be a major expense leading up to Christmas. Here are some ideas to help reduce the cost:

  • Take advantage of sales and discounts, even in December
  • Set aside some money each pay day, or open a Christmas club account for regular deposits throughout the year
  • Use layby, not credit cards
  • Make thoughtful gifts yourself, such as photo collages or family calendars
  • Try a Secret Santa arrangement with your family so you only have to buy one gift
  • Agree to only buy for the kids in your extended family
  • Write a list and set a limit on how much you spend on gifts
  • Make a donation to charity in the name of a family member or friend and give them a card showing what the money went towards
  • Buy small gifts to open on Christmas Day and go shopping for a larger gift in the Boxing Day sales.

Saving money on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

The evening before and the day itself can both be stressful. Here are some suggestions to help reduce the stress and the cost.

  • Car pool to a Christmas Eve event
  • Shop at local farmers markets for fruit and vegetables
  • Buy pantry items for Christmas lunch in the weeks leading up to the day so you don’t have to do it all at once
  • Arrange for everyone to ‘bring a plate’ on Christmas Day so everyone pitches in and splits the cost and effort.

Save money around the home this summer

Spending more time at home could mean spending more money on your home. Here are some things to keep in mind over the festive season:

  • Christmas lights – reduce the number of lights you hang this year to save money on electricity, or buy solar powered lights
  • Air-conditioning and fans – get tips on being energy efficient from the Australian Government’s Your Energy Savings website
  • Water your garden sparingly to save on costs or consider investing in a water tank.
  • Try to have your bills paid up before Christmas so you don’t have any surprises in January.

Smart tip

Plan family dinners at home rather than going out to eat. You can make your own fast food like pizza or burritos.

MoneySmart holiday activities

Spending more money doesn’t always mean having more fun. Focus on quality activities these holidays rather than spending up big. Here are some ideas:

  • Drive to the country
  • Family picnic
  • Beach day with Christmas leftovers
  • Family bike ride
  • Movie night at home with home-made popcorn.

Take a look at some more tips on cheap school holiday activities.

Plan ahead for next Christmas

It’s never too early to plan ahead. Here are some ideas to help make sure next Christmas is even better than this one:

  • Open a high interest savings account and contribute a small amount to it every pay day throughout the year. For example, saving $20 per week adds up to over $1,000 in one year.
  • Buy gift cards regularly and stash them away to use to buy presents with later on, especially during sales
  • Shop for presents throughout the year, especially during sales
  • Pre-plan larger gifts and layby 3-6 months in advance so you can pay them off over time.

Remember Christmas is just one day in a year – there are 364 other days to budget for. You’ll enjoy Christmas more if you spend smart.

The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs.

Source: ASIC Money Smart