The pressure to make Christmas Day memorable is one that many people experience, and after the last couple of years of pandemic-related stress and anxiety, we’re feeling that pressure even more. The reality is though, it’s just another day. Over-extending yourself financially for one day in a year is not going to make your life any easier or more enjoyable. Here are some small changes you can make to the way you celebrate the holiday season to reduce the potential for financial distress and increase enjoyment. Your future self and bank balance will thank you!
Holiday at home
As the saying goes—a change is as good as a holiday, so who says you have to leave your home to have that experience? Change could be as simple as mixing up your daily and weekly routine, without the added cost of paying big bucks for in-season accommodation. Get a cleaner in to do the household chores so you don’t have to, and plan an outing for each day of your time off, just like you would if you were holidaying in a different location. Research your area to see what free or low-cost activities your local council has planned for the time you’re taking off. Visit an art gallery or museum. Go bushwalking or plan a trip to the beach. Whatever you do, just make it different from normal!
Don’t over cater
For many people, Christmas Day conjures up images of a table laden with all the delicious things, but the truth is most households seriously over cater. Statistics show that 9 out of 10 Australians throw away more than a quarter of their food at this time of year, with yearly food waste costing around $8 billion. That’s a lot of money you’re literally throwing in the bin! Planning the Christmas menu is an easy way to prevent waste, not to mention the food coma that often follows a day of over-indulgence! Here are five ways to reduce your Christmas food costs:
- Only cook for the number of people you will be eating with.
- If you like to have options for your Christmas feast, halve a recipe or buy a smaller cut of meat.
- Mix it up by googling recipes to suit what you already have in your pantry.
- Buy in bulk and freeze leftovers for later use.
- Eat all the leftovers before you buy any take-away.
- Get everyone to pitch in. If someone doesn’t cook, ask them to contribute money or buy drinks.
Thoughtful but thrifty gift-giving
Everyone knows the meaning of Christmas isn’t how much we spend on presents, but the truth is we love to show our family and friends we care by giving them gifts. Racking up dollars on the credit card isn’t going to do anyone any favors though, so it’s better, to be honest if your budget can’t stretch to giving eye-popping presents to every member of your family. Here are some alternatives to make Christmas a bit easier on everyone’s back pocket:
- Secret Santa – This approach is great for large extended families who still want to swap pressies. Set a spending limit to keep it fair.
- With over 20 million unwanted gifts changing hands, each Christmas avoid wasting money by asking the recipient what they want or need. If it’s out of your budget, get them a gift voucher to put towards it.
- Shop the sales – If you’ve missed your chance with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, there are significant savings to be made on Boxing Day. Who said gifts have to be given on Christmas Day anyway?
- Limit the amount you spend on your kids by following the four gift rules – something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. If you start young with this approach your kids won’t know any different as they get older.
- Buy less but better. The old adage applies, less really is more when you’re giving someone something they really want. The cost of el cheapo stocking stuffers can really add up, so avoid these in order to give a more meaningful gift that will be truly appreciated.
With the money you save from Christmas cost-cutting, you could deposit the money into a savings account or look for ways to grow your savings. If you need help budgeting or ways for wealth creation, the friendly team at National Wealth Advisory can connect you with trusted financial experts