Christmas Budget and Money Saving Tips
Christmas is a magical time for children and parents, however it can also be very stressful for those on a limited budget. If you plan ahead, it is possible to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the budget and getting into debt. Start a high interest savings account and squirrel away as much as you can afford each week. You will be surprised how quickly it will grow. Clear out all your unwanted clothes, books, furniture, music and sporting equipment and list them online or hold a garage sale for some extra Christmas cash.
- Start a separate high interests savings account and deposit as much as you can in it each week or fortnight. Even $10 a week will give you and extra $520 at Christmas time.
- Set a budget! Children don’t need to be spoilt rotten and it won’t do them any good in the long run. Try giving them something they want, something they need, something they can wear and always give them a book to encourage their love of reading. If you want them to open a lot of presents, include things they will need in the coming months such as new pjs, new bathers, a rashie, hat etc.
- Make your own gifts. Biscuits, cakes and other baked goods, scented oils, decorative baskets, homemade candles and other hand made gifts will save you a fortune, though will take a little of your time. You can make your Christmas cards and gift tags inexpensively and family and friends will love them.
- Shop for your gifts during sale times and put them on lay-by and pay them off a little at a time. Remember not to overspend though, and only buy within your means.
- Christmas lunch doesn’t need to cost an arm or a leg. Get a frozen turkey and thaw in the fridge, buy fresh potatoes, carrots and pumpkin for a traditional roast. Serve with peas, or a fresh garden salad. Make a pavlova or Christmas pudding, perhaps an icreceam pudding for the little ones. If you like seafood, watch for a special on fresh seafood that can be frozen and buy ahead. Buy dinner rolls on special and freeze. Look for budget friendly Christmas recipes online, you will be amazed at what you can create for next to nothing. If you are having guests, ask them all to bring a dish or two.
- Live within your means. Don’t feel pressured to buy extended family members expensive gifts, even if they do so. Some biscuits or chocolates for adults will always be appreciated - watch for half price specials. Children will be happy with a colouring book and markers or similar, which you can pick up at a $2 shop. Alternatively, watch for sales and buy gifts in advance.
- Post Christmas sales are a fantastic way to stock up on wrapping paper, gift tags, decorations, anything you need for the following year.
- Bake, bake, bake. If you have time, you will save a fortune baking your own shortbread, fruit cakes, mince pies and biscuits. They also make fantastic homemade presents.
- Ask your family if they would be interested in ‘Kris Kringle’. You all pick a name out of a hat and purchase just one gift for the person whose name you draw. Set a limit, such as $50 or $20. It is a more affordable option than buying multiple gifts, and everyone will receive a gift they will love. Adults may be happy to just receive a card which will cut spending by around half!
Happy Christmas Saving!