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Today, we wanted to provide you with our Top 10 Christmas Savings Tips.
We all know that Christmas can be an expensive time of year. You have to buy presents for the family, your social calendar is booked solid, you eat more, you drink more, your kids are home from school and need entertaining. This list goes on....
According to Commsec, the average person in Australia spends $593.00 on Christmas gifts alone. So a couple spends $1,186.00, just on gifts alone.....wow!!
Mozo predicts Australians will rack up around $31.9 billion in credit card debt. That is almost $1,300 for every man, woman and child in Australia......ouch. Talk about a spending hangover.
Here are our Top 10 tips on reducing your Christmas spending this year:
Tip 1: Initiate operation Secret Santa – Secret Santa is a fun way to buy presents and also a great way to save heaps of cash at this expensive time of year. For those that don't know, the process is the family draw random names to become someone’s Secret Santa. You buy a present for that one person and in turn you receive one present from another member of the family. It is also fun to guess who gave you the gift.
This is best done with as much advanced notice as possible. Our family agreed that we all no longer needed the masses of presents each year, nor the expense and waste that goes along with it. We decided to do Secret Santa for the adults only. The kids still received their usual presents (perhaps slightly toned down), because after all Christmas is all about the kids anyway.
Tip 2: Set dollar limits – In addition to Secret Santa, we also set a dollar limit of $50 per adult and $50 per child. In regards to the adults, this was a great incentive to search for value and bargains. I personally hate shopping, so it is all online shopping for me. With a bit of searching, you can easily price compare and find the best sales/discounts. For the kids, $50 gets a lot of toys these days, but chat with the parents before hand and get some tips on what the child would like and what they are interested in.
Tip 3: Be a savvy shopper – Check for specials, buy items on sale, search for discount codes online, use sites such as Cash Rewards to get money back off your purchase. The internet has made saving money very easy. Shop around for the best prices before going to the store. It will save you time, money and a lot of stress.
Tip 4: Share the cost/workload – Hosting a Christmas event is expensive and also a lot of work, so share the load. Instead of the burden being placed on one family to host Christmas, work out a system where everyone contributes something to the event. We generally split it up roughly as follows:
Couple 1: Seafood
Couple 2: Meat & Chicken
Couple 3: Salads & Vegetables
Couple 4: Desert & Nibbles
Couple 5: Beer & Wine
This spreads the cost fairly evenly and we rotate each year.
Tip 5: Avoid paying for things on credit where possible – Unless you are credit card hacking for rewards points and you have the cash waiting on standby, avoid paying for things on credit. There has been an explosion in the use of credit products such as Credit Cards, After Pay and Zip Pay. These products may look attractive at the time, however beware. By using these products you are basically spending future earnings and getting yourself on a debt treadmill that is difficult to get off.
Tip 6: Sell your old stuff before you get new stuff – This is a great way to raise some quick cash to bolster the Christmas budget and it also gives you some room in the house for the new stuff to go. Sell your unused items such as bikes, toys, exercise equipment and surfboards etc. Post these on Gumtree and/or Ebay and turn them in to cash.
Tip 7: Avoid the temptation of trying to impress others – Here is a quote from Dave Ramsey: “We buy things we don't need, with money we don't have, to impress people we don't like.” This is so true, why do we do this? What are we trying to prove? So try and avoid the need to impress others. Whether it is the expensive round of drinks at the bar, shouting everyone dinner at a fancy restaurant or spending $2,000 at Bunnings to impress the in-laws with your DIY skills. Just think do you really need to try and impress these people? Is this necessary or is it just your ego talking.
Tip 8: Master the Staycation – Christmas is a great time for a staycation. You can avoid traffic jams, overpriced accommodation, masses of people and overpriced fuel just by staying at home. However the trick is to master the staycation as it is easy to get caught up with housework, renovations, TV time and beer time. The Christmas holidays should be about family, fun and relaxation. We have found with a bit of planning, this is easily done from home.
There is a lot of stress involved in packing, driving, negotiating crowds, driving home and unpacking. A staycation can be really nice if you use the time wisely.
Tip 9: Entertain the kids for free – Entertaining kids over the school holidays can be an expensive exercise. There are movies, video game arcades, play centres and toy shops to assist in extracting money from your wallet. I have two words to fix this - GET OUTDOORS!! Most things outdoors are free or cost very little - go to the beach, ride bikes, go on a bush walk, explore rock pools, fly a kite, go to the park, have a water pistol fight or play a game of backyard cricket etc. All of these activities are much more fun than being stuck indoors. So get outdoors!
Tip 10: The Boxing Day sales - Do you really need to go? – The idea of driving to the shops, trying to find a parking space and wrestling with a bunch of crazed bargain hunting zombies is my idea of a living nightmare. Do you really need to buy Christmas paper at 40% off and store it all year? Do you really need that 65 inch TV when your 55 inch is working just fine? Remember, sales happen all year round so there is no need to go crazy on Boxing Day.
There you have it, out Top 10 Christmas saving tips. Since we have implemented these tips in our lives, our Christmas celebrations have become less stressful and a much more enjoyable experience all round. Hopefully you can also implement some of these tips to ensure your Christmas is an enjoyable, fun and family orientated experience without the stress and financial hangover!!
Take care and best wishes all,
Cheers, Jason (Mr 3000)
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