This festive season we’re set to spend about $9551 each on gift giving. We’re also most likely to tally up an average of $16662 in credit card debt over the Christmas period. Suffice to say, it’s going to be a tough one on our wallets if we’re not careful.
So, to avoid the Christmas debt hangover, we’ve compiled 7 of our best frugal budgeting tips. Christmas on a budget can definitely happen!
1. Plan ahead
Starting as early as you can from Christmas (ideally around January), put away some money once a week towards a festive fund. By putting away something small like $20 a week from the week after Christmas, within a year you could have an extra $1,040 lying around to spend on gifts.
You could also start purchasing gifts early in the year. Space out your buying, rather than making one big purchase in December. Look out also for the major sales like Click Frenzy, Cyber Monday and the like to maximise your savings. Not only does this make the festive season less stressful on you, but it’s also less stressful on your wallet.
2. Stick to your budget
Whether your budget is $10 or $100 a person, it’s important to remain firm and not go overboard. Think of it as a creative challenge to see how far you can stretch your budget without spending more.
3. Encourage Secret Santa
Secret Santa is another great way to do Christmas gifts on a budget. Rather than buying presents for each person in your group, you could encourage a gift exchange where you’d draw names and purchase a single gift instead. This is a great way to save money and often ensures greater thought is put into the one present.
4. Pay with cash
An estimated 40% of Christmas shopping last year was paid through with credit/and or loans3 – and while it may be tempting to add that purchase to your card, it’s better not to. Don’t let the interest come back to bite you, pay with cash whenever possible.
5. Shop online
If you know what you’re looking for, save the hassle and shop online. Try to find discount codes or coupons on money-saving websites, and shop the sale section. Don’t forget to make sure you include shipping costs into this – often, the cost of some gifts may blow out once you add shipping so look for sites that offer free shipping or at the very least, reasonable shipping prices.
6. Shop around
Some shops offer a price match guarantee, so if you’re able to find a better competitor deal, take it to the store and see what they can do. You could also ask the store clerk if they’re running any special deals you can take advantage of – and never be afraid to ask for a discount! You may just get what you want.
7. Opt for the op shop bargain
If you’ve got some time, have a look around your local op shop, second-hand bookstore or antique shop for some great bargains. Often, these types of stores are run by charities so not only will you be helping them raise money, you might be able to find something amazing for a fraction of the retail price!