In a year that’s been financially tough for most Ausssies, the run up to December 25th can be a but stressful. Even at the best of times, Christmas can be expensive. The gifts, food and outings all add up, with the sum total equalling a gaping hole in your bank account. And often a financial hangover that lasts well into the new year.
It’s enough to bring out anyone’s inner Grinch, but there’s no reason to cancel Christmas! This year we need it more than ever! Instead, here’s seven simple ways to not break the budget this Christmas, and you’ll cruise through December with your savings (and your sanity!) intact.
1. Set a budget – and stick to it!
The first way to ensure you don’t break the budget is to actually SET a budget. It’s a simple first step, but it’s often overlooked. So, before you even spend your first festive farthing, sit down with a cup of tea (or wine!) and figure out exactly how much you can really afford to spend.
Once you’ve decided on the amounts you have up your sleeve for gifts, food and fun outings, don’t budge from your budget. No matter how ‘once in a lifetime’ the offer, or shiny the temptation!
2. Opt for a family Kris Kringle
Is it just us, or does the list of people you have to buy gifts for seem to multiply each Christmas? There’s family, friends, and partners to consider, as well and maybe workmates and favourite (and not-so-favourite) teachers. Then there’s the hostess gift for every drinks party, as well as a 6-pack for the postie… and that’s just the start!
One simple way to rein in the spending is to replace the endless gift swapping on the 25th with a family Kris Kringle (or Secret Santa). If you’re a newbie to this….the way it works is that each person attending is allocated ONE person to buy a gift for, and a gift budget is usually set. This means you might spend $50 on one thoughtful, well-chosen gift, rather than filling your trunk with a load of tatt and draining your dwindling bank account. You can get one family member to organise it and collect hints to pass on!
3. There is NOTHING that ruins Christmas Eve – and blows a holiday budget – like a last-minute dash to Westfield, trying to find a carpark with a shopping list as long as your arm. Gifts you had in mind might be sold out, and you’ll be left spending too much with over-budget purchases. So, make a list, check it twice, and shop for gifts and non-perishables well ahead….and chill out on Christmas eve instead!
4. Plan your Christmas menu and get everyone to pitch in
Playing hostess over the holidays? No need to do it all yourself! Plan the dishes you’d like to make, shop around for the best deals on ingredients, alcohol and snacks, then share the catering load. Delegate the remaining dishes to your guests, and don’t be afraid to make the proceedings BYO.
Everyone will be happy to lighten your financial (and work!) load and you’ll have more fun and less stress.
5. Be a deal detective
You DO want to shop early to alleviate eleventh-hour stress, but you also want to make sure the price is right. This means you’ll sometimes need to wait for an item to go on sale.
But won’t have to wait long! These days there are endless deals, two-for-one offers and discounts to be found throughout the year – and taking advantage of them will leave extra change in your pocket in December.
To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to the enewsletters for your favourite brands and stores, and follow them on social media for promotions like Black Friday and Pre-Christmas sales. Or for discounts and special offers on dining, hair and beauty, health and fitness, travel, entertainment and more? Take advantage of Shopa Docket.
You’ll find coupons on the back of dockets at Target, Kmart, Chemist Warehouse, Big W and Harris Farm nationally, as well as larger independent stores. You can also get these offers online, or when you’re on the go by using the Shopa Docket app ¬ making sure you play the app game to win extra vouchers!
6. Shop from your couch!
Shopping online really is a great way to ensure you get the best bang for your Christmas buck. It’s the easiest way to compare prices, and it can also give you bargaining power with bricks-and-mortar retailers that price match.
Playing digital Santa for gift and vouchers will also save you petrol money and aching legs. However, don’t forget about delivery fees and do take time to read up on each online return policy.
7. Give homemade gifts or experiencesAll those new talents you honed during lockdown? Now’s the time to showcase them! Use your new watercolour skills to make your own wrapping paper or cards, treat Nanna to a loaf of banana bread, or give your cousin a voucher for a free guitar/cooking/tennis lesson from you! Handmade gifts or donations of your time are not only affordable, they’re thoughtful and memorable. So, don’t be afraid to think out of the box this Christmas!
Want more local savings?
- For coupons, savings, competitions and exclusive offers become a member for free at: shopadocket.com.au or download the Free ShopaDocket App. Play the App Game to win vouchers.
- For Cashback & Deals (online and in-store) plus exclusive offers check out: shopasave.com.au or Download the Free Shopa Save App.