Money Saving Tips for Christmas

 

Keeping up with home loan repayments over the Christmas holidays is a challenge for most Australians. Especially since more than 50% of us overspend during the silly season.

According to recent figures released by the Commonwealth Bank, this year alone
• Aussie shoppers will spend around $45 billion (from November 15 to December 24).
• Each of us will spend an average of $488 on Christmas gifts.
• $18.5 billion of our total spend will be just on food.

But let’s not get too gloomy. The Reserve Bank of Australia said recently that Aussie mortgage holders are, in aggregate, way ahead of repayments. So we’re obviously doing something right. If you need a helping hand with your savings over the holiday season, you might like to consider these top 7 tips for making your dollar stretch further:

1. Plan Ahead

Take a leaf out of Santa’s Notebook and make a couple of lists. Make a list of the items you will need to purchase: Who do you need to buy gifts for? What will you need to prepare for the Christmas day catering? And the estimated cost. By setting a set gift budget for each person and the catering budget, can help you plan your spending and keep you on track on where the money goes. It’s also a great way to see if the spending could get out of hand and identify areas where you could save or cut back on.

2. Look for discounts

Ever ended up spending more on someone because you didn’t know what on earth to buy them? This can often happen in the flurry of last minute shopping when your primary focus is evacuating Myer ASAP. Yes, this ties in with point 1. Get to the shops before the rush or buy online.

Remember not every gift has to be bought in store. A sentimental, home-made gift e.g. a baked goods, DIY mug, candle, jewellery etc. can be even more thoughtful and meaningful gift and costs a fraction of the retail price.

3. Join forces with the family

The festive season is all about spending time with family and friends. You can help each other out with relative big-ticket gifts a recipient may really need. Or if you have a large or extended family to buy gifts for, you can plan a Secret Santa and draw a name from Santa’s hat, instead of buying gifts for every person, saving time and money all around, focusing on one person.

4. Pay with cash where possible

However, you will see we are very generous when it comes to gift giving. Australians will expect to spend a collective of $25 billion during the festive season, with the average person spending $1325 on gifts, food, decorations, travel and more. Although in 2017 40% of the total festive purchase was paid on credit cards, meaning added interest charge through the cost of gift buying. Paying with cash is a sensible step. Don’t forget lay-by and to understand the terms and conditions. It may be old fashion but it will allow you to pay off the purchase in your own pace and the most stores will offer interest-free deals.

5. Share the love- and the load

Don’t feel you have to do all the catering yourself for Christmas. Invite family and friends to contribute to the table, allow each family member or friend to bring over a homemade dish or some nibbles. It can help share the load and create a sense of belonging, in the season of giving.

Importantly, keep some extra cash for the upcoming New Year. January can also be an expensive month with New Year celebration and back to school cost and other unlikely costs to arrive.

6. Get on the case
If you’re giving away bottles of grog over Christmas to clients or relatives, consider buying a case or 2 to save you more. You may also like to check out bigger stores like Dan Murphy’s, as they tend to have great deals on all year round.

7. Keep your finances in check

If you have no idea where your money is going, it’s virtually impossible to change your spending habits. That’s why a budget is vital for the festive season. Here’s an example:

• Write down what you will spend on presents, food and drink. Here is a great Christmas budget template to get you started.
• Be specific and bring your list with you when you go shopping so you don’t get sidetracked.
• Add your usual overheads, like home loan repayments, bills and insurance payments. That way you know whether your Christmas spending is realistic.

 

If you’re concerned about saving on your home loan over the Christmas holiday, you may like to consider a free home loan health check with one of our mortgage brokers. We’ll take a look at your existing home loan and discuss other options that could potentially save you thousands. Contact us today.