Christmas is a very expensive time of year. From buying presents for all of your loved ones to forking out the funds for your increasingly full social calendar, and funding a hearty Christmas Day feast – come December, spending is at an all-time high.
For instance, did you know that figures released by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) earlier this year revealed that Australians spent a whopping $48.1 billion on Christmas last year? This figure encompasses everything from gift buying to eating out over the month of December.
But how do people fund this excessive spending?
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the average Australian plans to spend $955 over the holiday period, with Western Australian residents being among the biggest spenders in the country, followed closely by New South Wales.
Shockingly, as many as 36% of Australians fund their Christmas spending with a credit card, and a further 4% rely on bank loans. As a result, the average credit card debt after the Christmas period is $1,666, with only 26% of people being able to pay this off by the end of the financial year.
If you don’t want to become one of the millions of Australians burdened by heavy post-Christmas debts, follow our five money saving tips that will help ensure your savings are reserved for more important things – like securing a home loan.
Have a Pre-Christmas ‘Spring’ Clean
Before you start draining your bank account to fund after work drinks on your last day of work for the year or to buy the latest PS4 game for your nephew, go through all of your old stuff and see if there’s anything you can sell.
Do you have gifts you were given last Christmas that you never used or old clothes and jewellery that you never wear but are still in a good condition? Rather than throwing them away or stuffing them in the back of your closet to worry about later, why not sell them to fund your Christmas shopping?
List them on Gumtree, eBay or another buy and sell website, or if you have enough stuff to offload, you could even have a second-hand stall at one of the many markets held across the country over the Christmas period.
Save Money on Cards and Wrapping Paper
Hallmark is a multi-billion dollar company, which isn’t surprising considering how much money we fork out on Christmas cards, gift tags and wrapping paper each year.
Sadly, a lot of these cards and paper either go unused or are thrown out immediately after opening. For instance, how many Christmas cards do you receive each year? Of these, how many do you actually keep? You wouldn’t be alone in saying that they pretty much always get thrown out – sometimes as soon as you’ve opened them!
So, do you really need to spend money on them in the first place?
Instead of purchasing Christmas cards, and buying stamps to post all of them, consider going digital with your card sending efforts.
For instance, consider making digital cards on free applications like Canva, or recording a video message for your family and friends that you can send via email or Facebook.
Also, try to find a safe spot to store any unused gift cards and wrapping paper, so you can use it next year, rather than throwing it out and having to buy it again later.
Get Savvy with Your Online Shopping
The beauty of the Internet is that you can buy the same product from more than one store, without having to leave the comfort of your home. This means you can quickly and easily shop around for the best price – rather than settling for the most expensive version of the same product because you’re strapped for time.
Also look out for special deals or coupon codes that will reduce the cost of your Christmas purchases. Finally, try to shop at retailers that offer free shipping, as paying postage on multiple purchases from various stores can add up very quickly.
Cut Back on Gift Buying
If you’ve got a big family, or you’re the type of person that always buys expensive presents, you can easily save a lot of money by simply cutting back.
Kris Kringle is a fantastic way to cut back spending, as instead of buying 10 gifts, you’ll only need to buy one, and everyone will still have a present to unwrap on Christmas morning.
Other handy ways to save money on presents is by implementing a budget where you can only spend $20 on each person, or having a child only rule, where you only have to buy presents for the kids.
Keep Track of Your Spending
One of the best things you can do to reduce your spending over the festive season is to set a reasonable budget, and then keep track of your spending to make sure you don’t exceed it.
To make this easy, you can download the TrackMySPEND app, nominate a spending limit for each Christmas expense, and then track your progress as you shop.
Saving money can be that easy!