It might be regarded as the most wonderful time of the year, but for many Australians the holiday season can mean constant stress about how you’re going to make ends meet. The key to not having a financially stressful Christmas is smart budgeting – so to help you get the most out of the holidays this year, here are some simple tips that are easy to implement.
These are just ideas, so make sure you plan for your own circumstances and seek professional advice if required, as we all have different expectations when it comes to Christmas!
Setting up a budget isn’t as challenging as it might sound – the real trick is sticking to the goals you set. One way to stay consistent is to start a Christmas fund a few months, or even a full year, before the holiday season arrives. Then every month you can review your fund and see how much it’s grown. Some people find it helpful to create a separate savings account where you make regular deposits and can’t touch the money until Christmas time.
Close to Christmas and have no budget? Don’t worry – we have plenty of tips below to help you through.
Also think about other ways you can be savvy with finances around the holidays. It may not help you now, but plan to search free online listings in the off-season for things like Christmas trees and lights which you can use year after year.
How to make budget-friendly Christmas presents special
The holidays are right around the corner, so it might feel like it’s too late for financial changes to make any real difference. But the truth is that presents don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful.
In fact, research shows that money can’t buy love. So what tips can you use right now to make your Christmas presents a winner – even on a budget?
- Use your hands: Your friends and family will love getting handmade gifts. It shows you’ve put a lot of thought into the present, not to mention hours of your own time! If you love working with wood, think about crafting a custom chopping board or picture frame. Handmade soap, fridge magnets, coasters and mugs are also inexpensive gift ideas.
- Less is more: Organise with your gifting circle to only give one present this year, rather than multiple items per person. This reduces the cost of buying presents, but also makes that one gift so much more special. A Secret Santa/Kris Kringle is a great way to make the single-gift idea fun.
- Pool your funds: It won’t be a surprise, but if you want to do something big and flashy you can get together with your loved ones to discuss the idea of a shared gift. By pooling all your funds, you could have enough to take a special getaway together, making special memories rather than gifts that are easily forgotten.
Smart party planning
Even the smallest saving can make a big difference to your stress levels this holiday season. So be party-smart with a few savvy tips:
- Christmas cards and decorations can really add up – so why not save money while also making them more special by creating some DIY cards and Christmas tree decorations with the family?
- If you usually head out to restaurants with loved ones over the holidays, recommend that they come to your house instead. Everyone can bring a plate of food and you can make special memories without an exorbitant bill.
- You don’t need to buy everything brand new – from Facebook Marketplace to Gumtree and other online platforms, if you look hard you’ll find big savings on presents. Just make sure to buy early so you avoid the dreaded postal delays!
Home is where the heart is
Even if it’s been a long, hard year and you are excited about getting away for the holidays, worrying about money the whole time can really ruin your ability to relax. If an interstate or international trip is going to cause more stress than good, why not consider a stay-cation? There’s so much to do in your own backyard and you won’t have to deal with flight and hotel bills.
If it’s been a tough year – like it has for so many Australians – then these tips should help you save some money this holiday season.
Coming through the festive season with your financial health intact is possible if you have a plan. If you would like to work through a budget that includes a review of your finances, our lending specialists are available for a phone, web, or in person chat.
Enjoy the festive season and Happy New Years!
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This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.