This year, Aussies are expected to spend $11 billion over the silly season. Many of us will already be feeling the financial pinch with only a few weeks left until Christmas.
RateCity has compiled a list of eight ways you can cut down the cost of Christmas:
- Shop on Boxing Day
Last year, the National Retail Association predicted Australians would spend up to $2.8 billion in the Boxing Day sales, a figure that increased 5 per cent from 2015. If you’re not seeing some friends and family until after Christmas, then save the shopping for the Boxing Day sales. If you’re prepared to cut corners this Christmas, you’re prepared to battle it out in the sales crowds for a bargain.
- Zero interest credit cards
Many leading credit card providers are offering zero per cent credit cards to lure in new customers around the Christmas season. Virgin Money have announced they are extending the interest free period on their Velocity Flyer card from 12 to 14 months, and you can also expect 13 months interest free with a Bankwest Breeze or Breeze Premium Mastercard.
Zero interest credit cards may be a great resource if you need extra time to pay for those one off or big purchases, like a holiday or a new television, that would otherwise cut into your Christmas budget. It is important however, that you ensure you pay off your debt in full by the end of the free introductory period, so you don’t overspend and fall into debt.
- Do your online shopping in one place
If you’re more of an online shopper than someone who ventures to the shopping centre, ensure you’re limiting the variety of online stores to minimise pesky fees. Australians in particular know the trouble that currency conversion, shipping and delivery fees can cost, particularly when ordering from an overseas retailer. Try to do as much shopping in one spot, even utilising the newly launched Amazon Australia, to cut down on unnecessary costs.
- Agree on a spending limit
If your friends or family are also looking to cut down on the Christmas expenses, suggest a spending limit for presents. You’d be surprised just how resourceful, creative and heartfelt you can be when you’re given a $20 limit for your nearest and dearest.
- Recycle old gifts
Perhaps your work gave you a bottle of wine as a thank you gift, or you were given another mug by a distant relative and have no room for it. Why not recycle these gifts and give them to someone else?
With caution, of course, as you don’t want to re-gift something to the gift giver. Avoid trouble by ensuring you never re-gift something handmade, try to re-gift outside of your circle of friends and only re-gift new and unused items.
- DIY time
If you’re crafty, or have a talent, consider sharing it with your loved ones as a present. There’s nothing more thoughtful than a handmade, meaningful gift, whether it be the most basic Pinterest creation or an artistic watercolour painting. This will help you to save money on new items, and show that you cared enough to put a lot of effort into their present, instead of just swiping your credit card.
- Buy smaller presents in bulk
Looking for cheap stocking stuffers, or small gifts for acquaintances? Buy in bulk from warehouses like Costco, who are 27 per cent cheaper than Coles, and 24 per cent cheaper than Woolworths on average. Pick up a bulk number of smaller items such as chocolates or soaps, and then attach a ribbon or wrap them individually, creating an extra level of thoughtfulness.
- Use apps to stay organised
We’re all guilty of letting our disorganisation and procrastination cost us. One of the most annoying ways we waste money is by panic purchasing items we don’t really need as the days tick closer and closer to Christmas. Using apps such as ‘Santa’s Bag’ helps you to stay on top of the gift buying process. The app allows you to plan gifts for each recipient, set gift quantity limits and set and track your budget to ensure you’re not overspending.