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Tips to budget for Christmas holidays

12 December 2023
• 4 minute read
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Legendary crooner Andy Williams called Christmas ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but he failed to mention that it’s also one of the most expensive, especially if you’re hosting. With the big day fast approaching , we take a look at some simple tips and tricks to keep Christmas costs down without feeling like you’re doing it on the cheap.

Get your non-perishables in early

The price of Christmas-specific food tends to go up the nearer the big day gets. While there’s not much you can do about items with a short shelf life, you’d be surprised how long many traditional Christmas treats last.

Classic panettone, for example, may have a shelf life of up to six months, whereas Christmas pudding can last three to four months in the fridge and up to a year when frozen. And then of course there’s alcohol, which you can usually buy safely many months in advance of consumption (check best before dates just in case).

The point here is, keep an eye out for specials on non-perishables in the lead-up to the big day rather than paying top dollar on Christmas Eve.

DIY where you can

Still on the subject of food, homemade mince pies are cheaper, tastier, and can last longer (up to three months in the freezer) than their store-bought counterparts. But the DIY Christmas savings don’t end there.

Homemade decorations, for example, have become increasingly popular in recent times, with the ingenious Big W pool noodle hack adorning many a cost-conscious Christmas table last year (and this, no doubt).

And if you’re looking for a way to keep your kids occupied while also saving money (double win!), making your own wrapping paper with butchers paper and paint is an afternoon well spent.

Share the load

If Christmas is a time for giving, then it can’t be fair to expect one person to do all the work. If you’re hosting, assign your guests specific catering tasks (e.g. dessert). Not only will the cost and labour be distributed fairly, you’ll end up with a diversity of yumminess you would never otherwise have had.

Secret Santa

Whoever invented Secret Santa is one of the great unsung heroes of Christmas. In scenario one, you’re obliged to spend a fortune buying small (and let’s face it, often uninspired) presents for everyone you know in order to receive a sackful of small (and let’s face it, often uninspired) presents in return.

In scenario two, you spend less money purchasing just one genuinely thoughtful and substantial gift and, with a bit of luck, get the same in return.

How is that not better in every way?

True love waits

Warning: this next tip won’t work with kids. But any adult worthy of the name will understand that the big ticket item they want for Christmas will almost certainly be cheaper in the Boxing Day sales. If your partner (or grown-up friend/relation) can wait literally one more day, everyone’s a winner.

Start thinking about next year now

When is the cheapest time by far to buy Christmas cards, wrapping paper etc? Yep, straight after Christmas. The truly thrifty begin next year’s Christmas shopping before this year’s decorations have even come down and pick up bargains as and when they find them after that.

Make a note of the major retail sales such as Easter, EOFY, and Black Friday, and aim to do the bulk of your Christmas shopping then. You won’t just pay less, the cost will be spread out evenly over the course of the year.

Open a dedicated Christmas savings account

Back in the olden days, opening a new savings account was a laborious and time-consuming process. Today, not only can you open one in a matter of minutes, you can name it anything you like!

So if you really wanted to get on the front foot for next year, you could open an account called ‘Christmas 2024’ (or ‘Santa’s Sack’ or ‘Elf & Safety’ or… you get the idea) and slowly build up your festive fund as the months go by.

And if you wanted to be clever, you could add The Boost, so that every time you use the Visa Debit card associated with your linked transaction account, an amount between $0.01 and $5 is automatically transferred to it. That’s saving without even trying, that is.

But if you wanted to be really clever, you could put your new account in The Vault, meaning that your savings are hidden from view – and the temptation to dip into them along with it.

We’re here to help

If you would like more information about any of the products or tools mentioned in this article, please feel free to give us a call on 133 282. Alternatively, you can always pop into your nearest branch for a chat. Merry Christmas!

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

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