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7 ways to ensure you don’t blow the Xmas budget

11 December 2020

After a year of bushfires, a global pandemic and widespread financial uncertainty, it’s no surprise that Australians are feeling a little finacially nervous this festive season.

And new research has indicated that 23 percent of Aussies are worried about being able to even afford Christmas this year. A further 32 percent of us plan to cut down the amount we spend on gifts compared to past year’s Christmases, while 27 percent will be putting together a less lavish Christmas menu to save on food costs.

So, if you’re looking for ways to have an enjoyable festive break that won’t leave you in the red in the New Year, we’ve got some great tips and tricks to help you stay on budget.

Plan your spending

Many of us have been cooped up in lockdown for months this year, and the temptation to hit the shops is likely to be strong. To guard against overspending, write a list, working out what you’re going to buy, who you’ll buy it for and what it costs. That way, you’ll be less distracted by shiny expensive things or the desire to buy yourself a present or 10, which really will put a dent in your budget.

Set gift limits

See if your family will agree to a spending limit across the board for adults and kids, or better yet, suggest a Kris Kringle or Secret Santa to cut down on buying costs all round. A limit when buying for your own kids is key, too – we can all fall prey to the ‘one more present’ habit when it’s not really required.

Opt for pre-loved or make your own gifts

Whether it’s a jar of homemade pesto, a bag of Rocky Road or a gorgeous vintage vase you unearthed at a charity shop, gifts don’t have to cost the earth – and you’ll be doing your bit in not adding to landfill, too.

Accept offers of help with hosting

So often if we’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner, we try to do it all – but if relatives offer to bring a dish, let them! It reduces your workload and cuts down significantly on food costs, so it’s a win-win.

On that note, you could buy in bulk

Economies of scale allow you to buy more for less often. You’ll save doing it this way. Similarly, accept offers from family to bring a bottle of wine, etc. and have a big bucket full of ice where everyone can stash their contributions prior to the Christmas feast.

Cut back on decorations

It’s easy to do – but those new boxes of pricey Christmas lights, fancy tinsel and Christmas-themed plates and napkins can all add up super-fast. Keep it simple, re-use what you’ve already got and save your money.

Just say no to posh wrapping paper

Or better yet, repurpose the kids’ giant roll of lockdown butcher paper as wrapping! Your little ones can decorate it before you wrap gifts, or you can use it plain and add simple touches - maybe a bunch of herbs from the garden tied up with a little natural twine. Your presents will look gorgeous and you’ll have saved a packet on paper that ends up in the bin in two seconds flat.

A little forward planning and some simple swaps and sticking to a realistic Christmas budget becomes easier. Have a fun, festive time with your family and friends.

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