The festive season is well and underway, yet for many who are still recovering from the year that has passed, adapting to the economic climate is more necessary than ever.
These five simple tips and suggestions are assured to prioritise this year’s Christmas on a budget and offer alternatives for an affordable holiday season for all.
Pervading with job crisis and financial burdens, the continuous effects of the COVID pandemic has left a topically unstable economic climate for the population worldwide. A few simple tips and suggestions can go a long way to support those on a tighter Christmas budget this year due to the economic shockwave of the year that has passed.
1. Start and Stick to a Christmas Spending Plan
As December begins it is important to map out the spending of the holiday season in advance. This may include gifting, travel, recreational activities, events and hidden costs. Planning a holiday budget offers you a blueprint to constantly refer back to throughout the spending season.
Money Smart states, “Budgeting helps you to feel in control of your money. Setting up a budget gives you a clear picture of your income and expenses. It can help you spend less and save more to achieve your money goals”.
You may like to write down your monthly income and establish you’re spending from there. Budgeting your monthly expenses from your income will be sure to keep you from being out of pocket with all of the added festive spending.
Business News Australia has released expectations of $11 billion dollars Australian spending on Christmas gifts this year. On average people are expected to spend $726 on gifts per person.
A good way to cut down your budget this year is to plan how much you will spend on each relative and exactly what you are planning to buy for them. This will keep you from being easily swayed by all the extra Christmas advertising.
For more handy tips on How to start a budget, track your spending, follow a compound interest calculator and more head to https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting.
2. Shop Ahead and Smart Gifting
The rush of the festive season can leave many scrambling for gifts and food at the last minute. This is one of the major ways people tend to overspend. Buying in advance helps you to stick to your holiday budget and avoid the extra stress and pressure of last minute additional costs, such as express shipping or paid wrapping.
When shopping ahead and smart gifting, it is a good idea to opt for joint-gifting. Putting in on gifts in groups or doubles saves costs and preparation time.
Spending your money and budget wisely also includes gifting practical gifts. The financial impact of the pandemic has contrived many to re-think wants and needs, viewing practicality as the new luxury. Many people who are currently tight on their budget, would prefer gifts more on the practical side, than opulent. This may be in the form of gift cards, houseware, kitchen supplies, an online streaming subscription or even the traditional socks and underwear. Remember that anyone who is struggling financially would welcome the alternative of the traditional over the extravagant.
It’s essential to plan and budget your food costs over the Christmas period. Some key tips to lowering costs this year include cooking yourself, splitting the bill, and sharing the meal preparation between relatives and friends.
A savvy shopping tip when beginning food preparation includes buying frozen vegetables to cater across many recipes. Buying bulk for value, regardless of the ingredient, will allow you to successfully meal prep and save.
A final strategic shopping tip involves adding a couple of non-perishable items to your weekly shop in the lead up to Christmas. This will gently chip away at the “big shop” and also allow you to look out for value for money in the lead up period.
4. Shop Online
If you know you are prone to have a wandering eye and shopaholic tendencies, the added Christmas publicization and trading is not going to help your case. This holiday period, try shopping and accumulating all of your necessary gifts online.
Shopping online also allows you to price check and compare between sites. You can apply discount codes, follow up on sales, and opt for After-pay options, acquiring the correct gifts for all of your loved ones and sticking to your original budget plan.
For some price comparison websites include https://www.getprice.com.au, https://www.priceme.com.au, https://www.frugl.com.au which allow you to compare the prices and resources to save the most in return.
5. Alternatives to Buying Presents
There is truly nothing more sentimental then a gift that comes from the heart. This Christmas, if you are hoping to save on your budget, there are many alternatives instead of commercialised gifting.
Communicate to your loved ones sentimental value beyond what any material possession would through the act of caregiving and quality time. If you have an elder or impaired loved one in particular, you may offer to help them with chores or running errands throughout the Christmas and holiday period.
Sentimental ideas also come in the form of handmade gifting. Personalised presents such as photo albums or framed pictures, offer a longterm sentimental impression to your loved ones. If your budget is a little tighter than usual this year, you can also opt to handcraft gifts in the form of; knitting, crocheting, baking, crafting and more. You can also opt to hand-make Christmas decorations and cards to cut down on your budget this year.
Many online websites offer DIY inspiration. Head to https://www.blesserhouse.com/100-diy-christmas-gifts/ for a list of 100 DIY Gifts this Christmas.
Another alternative includes shopping secondhand. Saving on retail pricing by picking up second hand, offers the option of perfectly good quality items to save on your spending and still cross off the gifts on your loved ones wish-lists.
Offering a donation is another great way to give back this Christmas. Following the pandemic, more people than ever, need a helping hand.
The Salvation Army is just one charity you can give back to this Christmas. Stating , “All over Australia families are dealing with low wages, insecure jobs, a spiralling housing crisis, and the ongoing fallout from COVID-19. All at once. And with Christmas coming, they are also struggling with the shame and guilt of letting their children down on the day we are all supposed to celebrate hope and joy.”
You can also head to; https://christmasinaustralia.com.au/christmas-charities-in-australia/ for a list of organisations that you can help this Christmas.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and to give yourself a little extra love
this holiday season. The American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us, “Small acts like a handwritten note or FaceTime with your friends and family will go further than you think. Expressing your love and care is what really matters this year”.