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Stay on top of your spending this festive season

29 November 2022
• 5 minute read
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With compulsory mask-wearing and border closures mercifully now a distant memory, this will be the first ‘normal’ Christmas we’ve had for three years. And if the financial forecasts are to be believed, Australians are set to make the most of it by spending more than ever.

According to research released by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), we are forecast to splurge a whopping $63.9 billion in the pre-Christmas sales period (November 14 – December 24). This is an increase of 3% on 2021, which was itself a record year.

Despite this, with both interest rates and inflation rising steeply, many of us will be looking for ways to save over the festive season. This might involve purchasing gifts during pre-Christmas sales, setting a gift limit with family and friends, or even making your own.

It can also be worthwhile looking at ways to save in other areas of your life at Christmas, such as around the home, where every dollar saved can be put back into enjoying the holidays with family!

So, here are some handy tips for doing Christmas on a budget.

Track your spending

While we all like to spoil ourselves and our loved ones at Christmas, going overboard can make for a financially challenging new year. Setting a budget will help you keep a lid on spending, while an easy way to track your shopping is to keep receipts of every purchase. It’s also a good idea to use a separate bank account for Christmas spending to ensure you don’t accidentally leave yourself short for bills and day-to-day expenses.

Cut down on the Christmas lights

We’re not trying to be a Grinch here but having an extravagant number of Christmas lights can really impact your power bill, which, in case you hadn’t heard, are tipped to increase by 50% over the next two years.

Unless you’re trying to win the local lights competition, you don’t have to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ next door and their over-the-top light extravaganza.

If you do feel the need to brighten up your place, there are plenty of solar-powered festive lights available that won’t leave you with a huge power bill in the new year.

Pay outstanding bills before Christmas

Speaking of the new year, it can be one of the biggest bill-paying times of the year for many people. Apart from the usual utilities accounts to pay, many households have to contend with holiday expenses on top of an oversized credit card bill. So, to help ease money stress in the new year you should try to pay off all outstanding bills before Christmas hits.

Get your air conditioner serviced

Australian summers seem to be getting hotter each year. In some areas, air conditioners can be running all day with kids home on school holidays and throughout the night. The costs can really add up. It makes sense to run your aircon as efficiently as possible. After all, an efficient air conditioner is a cost-effective air conditioner. So, get them serviced before the heat comes and run them at the most efficient temperature setting (usually between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius for cooling).

Buy only what you need

Summer is THE social season. We see more of our friends and family than any other time of the year. And, if you’re the poor soul who’s hosting one or more soirées, it could get very expensive, very quickly. Before you splash the cash on party provisions, ask yourself if you really need seven types of dip (especially for Christmas lunch when the food will be flowing anyway), or whether your guests can bring a dish to share the load. Think about what will be eaten over the course of the event and don’t overspend for the sake of it. It won’t just help your bank balance, your waistline should benefit too.

Start planning for next Christmas now!

While it might seem over-the-top to start thinking about next Christmas before this one has even arrived, just think how smug you’ll feel 12 months from now! A clever savings tool like The Boost can help you save throughout the year, while stashing your savings in The Vault means you won’t be tempted to dip into them until the festive season rolls around again.

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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