With Christmas fast approaching, Australians are spending money at a rapid rate. Gumtree estimates Aussies will spend an average of $670 on Christmas presents, equalling an eye-watering $9.8 billion across the nation. Finder.com.au believes we’ll be a bit more conservative, spending just $464 on the gifts, but it also thinks we’ll spend around $1325 each on all our Christmas expenses, including food, alcohol, and travel. Many of us will spend more than we can afford, with Mozo predicting Australians will rack up a cumulative total of $31.9 billion in Christmas credit card debt. Christmas spending hangovers aren’t inevitable though. Some Aussie money experts have offered some smart strategies for slashing your Christmas budget without reducing your festive cheer.
Setting a clear budget is key to keeping Christmas costs down. Consider who you’ll buy gifts for and how much you’ll spend on each. Shop around for the best deals and don’t be tempted to add extra items to the gift if you find a bargain. Plan your Christmas menu and check catalogues for savings on your favourite festive fare. Encourage your guests to bring a plate to reduce the food bill.
Buy now, pay later schemes may seem enticing, but think twice before you defer your Christmas payments. As we mentioned in a recent article, companies like Afterpay aren’t regulated. That means users can sign up for debt without undergoing checks they can pay the money back.
“It has to be paid off over an eight-week period and if you don’t you end up getting hit with a fee of up to $68,” SugarMammaTV founder Canna Campbell explained to news.com.au. “If you can’t afford it now, how are you going to factor it into your living expenses over the next eight weeks?”
Rather than hitting up your local shopping centre, do your Christmas shopping at websites like Gumtree and the Trading Post instead. Buying second-hand can save money and the planet. It’s also a great way to find unique gifts that simply aren’t available in stores, including rare antiques and limited-edition collectors’ items. It turns out the stigma around second-hand gifts is unwarranted too, with 65 percent of Aussies saying they’d happily receive a preloved present according to Gumtree.
“My son Luke, he’s six. He has come to realise if you accept second-hand presents you’ll get more,” explained savvy Queensland mum Deb Balhatchet.
You might also give “gifts of kindness” that cost you nothing but mean a lot, like babysitting, gardening, or creative services. Think about what you can do that will matter to your family members or friends.
Gift wrap and cards are small expenses but they can add up. Think outside the box here and use newspaper or your children’s artworks to wrap your gifts. Save the wrapping paper you receive each year and reuse it next Christmas. Instead of Christmas cards, consider recording video messages on your smartphone. Your recipients will probably keep them much longer than regular cards.
Enjoying Christmas without going into debt is one of the best presents you can give yourself this festive season. Making an appointment with Chase Edwards is another. Our money experts can give you the advice you need to achieve your financial goals in 2019. Call us today on 1300 854 833 to learn more.