Christmas is approaching faster than you can say “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” and bringing with it the usual money worries. Having a very merry Christmas can be tough on your wallet – but with 13 weeks to go there are plenty of ways to beat the festive financial fret by preparing and saving well in advance.
1. Open a high-interest savings account
There is nothing better to beef up savings than a high-interest savings account. Deposit regularly, earn great interest and watch your Chrissie stress trickle away. Some of our top picks include:
2. Buy Nothing New (Save $1000)
We proved back in October 2012 that buying nothing new can save you a tonne of cash. Try cutting back on the amount of new stuff you buy in the lead-up to December. And when the festive season hits, consider buying second hand goods to help save the planet and your wallet.
3. Give up vices (save $260)
Although it might not seem like it, your daily coffee, weekly takeaway dinner or Friday night drinks with friends can really take a toll on your budget. Try cutting out your flat white with two and save around $260 by the time Christmas rolls around. Also consider participating in Ocsober to give both your health and your bank account a boost.
4. Stop paying high interest on your credit card (Save $240)
If you’re barely meeting repayments on your card and struggling to make a dent in the balance, try refinancing to a low or no rate balance transfer card. Cards like the CUA Low Rate and the Bankwest Breeze MasterCard offer 0.00% balance transfer rates for 6 and 10 months respectively, before reverting to low purchase rates. With many credit card interest rates well over 20% and typical outstanding credit card balances in excess of $3600, doing a 0% interest balance transfer could save you $240 in interest repayments by December. Don’t put it off – switch your account over today and save big in time for Christmas.
5. Round up some extra savings (Save $360)
If you’re finding it hard to save chunks of cash regularly, try the rounding-up savings method. Every time you make a purchase round up your transaction to the nearest dollar. Deposit the excess into a savings jar (or a piggy bank). Our experiment saved us $30 in a single week, which over the 13 weeks till christmas would amount to $360! Most banks now offer a rounding up or automatic sweep function to help boost your savings. So, if your bank doesn’t offer you a rounding up or savings sweep function, give the UBank USaver Ultra a try.
6. Dodge ATM fees (Save $60)
Withdrawing cash from an ATM that’s not owned by your bank can cost you up to $2.50 per transaction. Though this doesn’t sound like much, do it twice a week for 12 weeks and you’ll be paying $65 in fees just for accessing your own money. Next time you’re in need of cash, keep an eye out for ATMs owned by your bank’s network or withdraw cash from supermarkets and other large retailers when you do your shopping.
7. Stop wasting food (Save $230)
Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. That equates to 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries. For the average Australian household that means around $1000 worth of food is thrown away every year – enough to feed the average household for over a month. By getting waste conscious in the lead up to Christmas, the average household will save $230 (which should more than cover the turkey.)