Avoid all jolly spending traps
Cut costs this season
KEEPING costs down at Christmas can be a challenge for many households.
Savings plans have come too late for many Australians who will now face the challenge of getting through the festive season without leaving a giant hole in their pockets.
Christmas is just two weeks away but only one in four households has engineered a year-long savings plan to reduce the monetary burden at this time of year.
The St George Family Finances report, released last week, has revealed one-third of households find this time of year stressful but manageable and when it comes to splashing cash most people expect to spend about $543 on gifts alone.
But the report found that more than one-third of people expect to spend about $2000 during the entire festive season.
St George’s general manager for retail banking Ross Miller said while 16 per cent of respondents will be completely reliant on their credit card, for most of us it’s about having a smart spending approach over the summer holidays.
“Households are being realistic about expenses because they realise it’s not just about gifts, it’s about all aspects of the season including travelling to see family, extra grocery bills and even school holiday activities,” Mr Miller said.
“So if you’re spending about $500 on presents, that’s $10 a week to save over the year, so for $2000 in spending it’s about $40 a week and our hope is next year families start to think about things this way for the next year ahead.”
One of the biggest bugbears at this time is peak season rates, particularly for costs like flights and holidays, which typically can’t be avoided, so a “staycation” may be a better option.
When it comes to filling Christmas stockings, Rising Tide financial services managing director Chris Browne said there are a few ways to cut costs significantly.
“Create gifts that are low on cost but high on thought, for example babysitting or give them a nice photo that means something,’’ Mr Browne said.
Sales are also well and truly on and today is Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day in the US, which follows Thursday’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Finder.com.au’s spokeswoman Bessie Hassan said this is also a good time for Aussies to pounce on bargains.
“Cyber Monday is one of the biggest online sales events in the US and we’re expecting to see much larger take-up from Australian online retailers in 2017,” she said.
CRAFT TIME: Put your own unique signature on Christmas presents by making your own gift boxes.