10 ways to save this Christmas
From recycled paper to avoiding Christmas crowds - find out ways to save this holiday season.
For many of us, Christmas is all about the three F’s: family, feasting and festivity. Dazed by flashing lights and inebriated on advent chocolate, we often overlook (or attempt to ignore) the final F of Christmas: financial burden. That’s right — whilst December is a month of joy, it’s also a month of bulk spending. Food, gifts, Christmas outings….the list goes on.
Anyone with an extended family will understand the economic stress Christmas can put on the wallet. For those of you looking to splash less cash this year, here’s my Christmas gift to you…a list of ten ways to help you save this festive season.
1. Preparation is key
It’s easy to spend less at Christmas when you don’t leave all your shopping until the last minute. Preparing in advance gives you time to scour mid-season and online sales for festive bargains. If, like me, your eyes are bigger than your wallet, making a list of what you need ahead of time can also prevent you from shelf-shopping (the act of buying the entire shelf without looking at the price).
2. Santa the online shopper
Shopping for your gifts online is a great way to compare retail prices and to make sure you get the most out of your money over the festive season. By staying away from the shopping centres, you avoid retail traps (enticing Christmas displays, flashing lights and not-so-cheap discounts) and better yet you don't have to deal with stressful Christmas crowds.
3. Review your nice list
Okay, so this isn’t REALLY about deciding who’s naughty or nice, but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate who you buy for this Christmas (I’m sure your Aunty’s friend’s dog won’t be offended). Come to a mutual agreement with friends on whether you’re going to exchange presents this year, and put the savings you make towards an extra bottle of wine on your next outing!
4. Secret Santa
Alternatively, Secret Santa is a great way to spread the Christmas cost AND cheer by keeping all your friends and family in the loop. Whilst reducing your overall spend, Secret Santa actually allows you to increase your budget for the lucky person who receives your Christmas gift.
5. Recruit Christmas helpers
Even Santa doesn’t work alone at Christmas. The festive season is all about spending time with family and friends, so why not share the workload with your trusted helpers? Asking others to contribute to Christmas dinner will cut down costs and help reduce stress on the big day.
6. Get crafty this Christmas
D.I.Y. presents are a great way to deliver personal gifts without breaking the bank balance. Having lived in the UK for twenty years, I’ve spent many a December avidly knitting. Whilst this doesn’t really work for an Australian Christmas, you can find heaps of D.I.Y. inspiration on sites such as Pinterest.
7. Recycled Wrapping Paper
Cut down unnecessary costs and complete your good deed this Christmas by recycling used wrapping paper. This is a great way to reduce the financial burden of over-priced packaging whilst also doing your bit for the environment…..and let’s be honest, no one cares about the wrapping anyway!
8. Become a Christmas casual
As Christmas gets closer, shopping malls and Christmas markets flood with crowds of last-minute shoppers (a phenomenon you have avoided if you’ve followed my advice in steps 1 and 2). Whilst bad news for shop assistants hoping for time off over the holidays, this influx of shoppers opens up new opportunities for anyone hoping to earn some extra cash over Christmas. Why not get yourself a casual job to help alleviate financial stress during the busy festive season?
9. Take it back to the basics
When surrounded by sparkly decorations and festive treats, it’s easy to forget what Christmas is really about—spending quality time with your loved ones. It could be time to strip back on the amount you spend on presents and opt to simply enjoy the experience with your family instead.
10. Boxing-day bargains
I’ll be honest with you, boxing-day sales are my personal idea of Christmas hell. For those of you willing to brave the crazy crowds, however, boxing day is a great occasion to stock up on next year’s Christmas stash. Just be prepared to fight your way through the sea of sale-crazed shoppers!