With Christmas just around the corner, many Australians are starting to feel the financial pinch. Last year, Australians borrowed approximately $29.7 billion on credit cards, equal to $1,863 per credit card. With the rising use of buy-now-pay-later services, it’s not just credit cards causing major debt issues. According to ASIC’s report of buy-now-pay-later services, as at 30 June 2018 there was more than $900 million in outstanding buy-now-pay-later balances. For larger Christmas gifts, it may seem like an easier, more serviceable option to put on Afterpay or Zip Pay. However, many people struggle to keep up with the extra repayments on top of other debts.
To help you combat the credit card hangover this Christmas, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 ways to save money.
1. Have a Pre-Christmas Clean Up
Spend some time clearing out anything you no longer need around the house like clothes, books, jewelry, furniture, music or sporting equipment. As well as pocketing a few extra dollars, you might just end up making someone else’s Christmas extra special.
2. Get Organised Early
Take some time out of your day to sort out your Christmas budget. Determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts, the number of people you need to buy gifts for and do some digging into what you could get them that sits within your budget.
3. Open a Christmas Savings Account
Open a new savings account designated to saving money for Christmas. Even if you set up an automatic transfer for $5 or $10 every week, you’ll have saved hundreds of dollars ready for Christmas spending.
4. Do a Family Secret Santa
Secret Santa with your family is a great way to save money this Christmas. Secret Santa involves each participant being anonymously assigned another participant for who they are to provide a gift. So instead of buying everyone a gift this Christmas, you’ll only need to buy one, but each participant receives a gift. Secret Santa encourages everyone to find a gift that’s a little more thoughtful, rather than spending money on a generic Christmas gift from the store. Be sure to set an affordable limit, such as $10 or $20.
5. Become a DIY Legend
One of the best ways to save money this Christmas is by creating homemade gifts. Consider crafting, sewing, or baking goods instead of buying a gift from the store. Homemade gifts also offer a sentimental touch that you can’t find in-store. Make sure to plan and research what you’d like to make to ensure you have time to make your gifts before Christmas.
6. Give the Gift of Time
Instead of spending hundreds on Christmas presents, you can always gift a service by sharing your skills with family and friends. Best friends with a busy mother? Offer to clean the house or cook a week’s worth of meals. You can also take someone on an adventure to their favourite spot, such as the beach or the park for a picnic. This allows you to give the gift of spending time with your loved ones instead of spending money.
7. Share Entertaining Expenses
Christmas is a great time to get family and friends together, but it does come at a cost. Some ways you can share entertaining experiences this Christmas:
- Asking everyone to bring a plate of food or drinks to share,
- Dividing the shopping list expenses, or
- Going out for lunch and asking each person to pay for themselves.
8. Keep it Simple
Decorating the house and dining table is a big part of the Christmas spirit; just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to give it all up. There’s no need for extravagant decorations. Here are some great ideas:
- Work with the tableware you already have,
- Search around the garden for foliage or flowers,
- Get creative and photocopy pages of hymn books to use as placemats, or
- Get the kids involved in some arts and craft to make some Christmas decorations.
9. Make Happy Memories
Christmas is a time to make memories, not spend money. Create joyful experiences and happy memories this Christmas. You could take the family for a trip to the beach, visit a friend who you’ve not seen in a while or volunteer to help someone in need. A little bit of time and effort could mean far more to the people you love than any expensive gift.
10. Avoid Credit
If you have started saving early and followed your Christmas budget, there’s no reason why you need to use your credit card to buy Christmas gifts. Leave the credit card at home and use cash instead. A little bit of discipline may help you avoid the credit card hangover come January.
Are You Experiencing Financial Hardship?
If you’re experiencing financial hardship this Christmas, Debt Rescue is here to help. We assist hundreds of Australians every year alleviate debt stress and regain financial control. No matter your financial situation, we can tailor a debt relief solution to your needs. Get in touch with our experienced team today on 1800 560 568 for a free 30-minute consultation.