Christmas is sneaky.
It happens at the same time every year – but we’re always surprised at how quickly it arrived.
We’re often never as prepared as we’d like to be, and it’s therefore easy to spend more than we’d like to as the overwhelm and sheer lack of time to get organised hits home.
With just under 30 days to go till the big day,
Here are 30 ways to have Christmas on a budget without loosing your Christmas spirit
- Set an overall budget for Christmas. It?s important to have a total spend in mind which can be broken down into smaller categories such as gifts, food and decorations.
- Make a gifts list and check it twice. Keep track of what you need to buy and for whom. Knowing how many presents you need to buy will help you decide when you need to tighten up or if you can splurge a bit more.
- Don?t wait until the last minute to shop. Spread out your spending by starting your shopping early. Ticking items off the list will also help you minimise those last minute panic purchases.
- Shop with care and only go into a store if you have your gifts list. This will help you stick to your budget, and will help you eliminate unnecessary spending.
- Shop solo! Tackling your list with a friend or even the kids will have your spending more than you should & buying out of frustration with the later in toe!
- If you have a few favourite retailers sign up to their newsletters. It?s not too late. If they have a sale or special offer, you?ll be in the know and it?ll help with gift inspiration nonetheless.
- Look at the bigger online retailers like Kogan or DealsDirect for example ? they have products that cover every category under the sun. You may be able to buy the majority of your gifts in one go and pay just the one lot of postage.
- It?s worth taking a bit of time to shop around on big ticket items first, as pricing can vary substantially between retailers. Do research online to make sure you?re getting the best deal
- Resist the flexibility of credit and remember that credit card interest rates will add approximately 20% on top of the purchase price if you aren?t planning to pay your card off at the end of the month
- Own a cash back debit card? Use it instead. That way you are saving money on your Christmas gifts.
- Don?t be roped in with special options to pay over a longer period of time. Whilst these offers may seem like a deal, they could end up costing you over time if you regularly carry an outstanding balance on your credit card.
- Resist the urge to go overboard the kid?s presents. If they?re not a school yet, grab a Christmas sack or stocking, set a small budget and fill it with lots of little presents and objects. This can be done easily and cheaply and will keep them entertained for hours. For older kids, try keeping it two one or two special gifts or give an ?experience? gift.
- Need to have the annual photo with Santa? Jump online and look for centres offering FREE Santa photos ? yes they do exist. If you don?t mind parting with a few dollars for your photo ? go for the digital print, take it to Kmart or any online photo printing company and print as many as you need for cents!
- It?s a lovely idea to give the nanny, staff at childcare or teachers a present for the attention and care they?ve shown your kids throughout the year. Remember though that it?s the thought that counts. No need to blow the entire Christmas budget to compete with others gifts. For multiple people, try a gift basket for their staff room or something for the school / centre. Homemade gifts like rumballs, gingerbread house, Christmas puddings. Or for budget friend individual gifts, try coffee club vouchers, a bottle of champagne, or movie tickets ? things that will certainly be used.
- Ditch the expensive wrapping paper. Some brown craft paper or brightly coloured crepe paper and pretty ribbon can be purchased in bulk and mixed and matched for beautifully wrapped presents.
- Ditch the expensive tree and table decorations. Keep it simple with lights, baubles and a few choice tree ornaments. You can create a beautiful tree and festive home for a little spend.
- Rather than agonise over what to buy for friends, schedule in time and make it meaningful. Catch up over a few Christmas drinks, dinner or an afternoon of high tea (whenever dad?s on duty). Time spent together is more memorable and that way you all get a much deserved ?outing? on your own.
- Send overseas gifts early to ensure they get their on time. Don?t let a lack of planning send your budget out of whack by having to pay hefty expediting costs.
- Write a Christmas card list and plan to write your cards in early December. Book a date in your diary or set a reminder in your phone so you don?t forget to write and post them.
- Too late to get your Christmas cards delivered. Try Paperless Post for beautifully designed, free, customisable e-cards his Christmas. Design one, upload your email list and press send.
- Lots of holiday parties? Buy one outfit that you dress up or down with different accessories to keep your costs down.
- Big family? Start a new tradition with a family Secret Santa for the adults. This way everyone gets a gift and nobody breaks the bank. And you can focus on gift giving for the kids.
- Keep meal costs in check by asking everyone to bring a plate of food and a bottle of wine or alternatively assign them a dish to bring. Keep a list of what people are contributing so you can plan the rest of the meal without doubling up or leaving things out.
- Ordering a turkey, roast or seafood for Christmas Lunch or Dinner? Don?t forget to check the cut-off date for ordering these items at your local grocer, supermarket or specialty meat store to avoid disappointment.
- Stock up on a few extra small presents like bottles of wine or boxes of chocolates & some wrapping bows that can be given to people you may have inadvertently left of your list. These gifts will not go to waste in any case!
- Don?t forget about your bills over the holiday season. Prioritise your most important household expenses. You don?t want to miss a payment on your mortgage, car or insurances because you overspent during the holidays or you forgot (because who thinks about these things when they?re on holiday!).
- Got frequent flyer points saved? If you?ve left your Christmas budget preparation a little late this year, now might be a good time to cash them in for trips, accommodation and gifts for family & friends.
- If you are going away – don?t forget to purchase travel insurance. You want a holiday to remember not one to forget so make sure you?re protected from the unexpected
- Set up a Christmas cupboard. Put all your unused wrapping paper, bows, cards, stickers etc into it. You?ll have good supply ready to go for next year (and not have to think about it).
- Starting next year, take $20 a week out of your wallet, put it in an envelope ? and you?ll have an extra $1,000 for Christmas 2016! Or for the more organised ? set up an automatic savings plan to a high interest savings account dedicated for next Christmas. That way, you?ll have more than a $1,000 by December 2016.
Happy Christmas on a Budget!