7 simple changes you can make to save over $500 this Christmas

The Christmas period is upon us, and between buying gifts, attending parties, and making sure the pantry is well stocked with festive treats, your wallet is in for probably the biggest workout of the year.

If you’re not keeping an eye on your finances these holidays, you could easily wind up ringing in the new year with a bucket load of debt. To help you out, we’ve crunched the numbers and found seven essential areas where you can save up to $500 this Christmas.

1. Buy an artificial Christmas tree - save $532 over five years

You might prefer the authenticity of a real tree, but if the goal is to give your budget some breathing room these holidays, a synthetic one is your best bet. By opting for a synthetic tree instead of a real one, you could see savings of $62 a year, or $532 over five years.

2. Rent your festive dresses - save $260

Purchasing an expensive new outfit you know you’ll only have occasion to wear once or twice a year isn’t exactly a wise financial decision, but that’s what many of us find ourselves doing come Christmas time. One alternative is to rent your festive suits and dresses instead of buying them outright. This could save you somewhere around $260.

3. Go easy on the aircon - save $120

With temperatures climbing well beyond 30 degrees throughout the holidays, it’s very easy to go overboard with the aircon. In fact, 1 in 5 Australians admit to leaving the air conditioning on while they’re not at home, and 40% keep it on overnight. By being a bit more conservative with your energy habits, your household stands to save $120.

4. Shop around for alcohol - save $70

With parties aplenty this time of year, chances are you’ve got your work cut out for you when deciding on which alcohol to serve or bring. We found that if Australians shop with the most competitive online alcohol retailers this Christmas, they’ll be able to knock $3.50 off a bottle of wine and $5.98 off a bottle of spirits on average. 

All up, you could potentially save $70 on festive booze by being a bit more money savvy. Check out the winners of this year’s Mozo Experts Choice Online Liquor and Wine Awards for a look at which retailers are friendliest to your budget.

5. Pass up on the themed chocolate

Chocolate is on everyone’s list come Christmas time, and grocery stores know it. That’s why they mark up Christmas themed chocolate by an average of 56% per 100g over the holiday period. If your family is willing to give the festive treats a miss this year, you could save around $7.80.

6. Look for grocery deals - save 20%

Aussies are tipped to spend a whopping $21.6 billion on food alone this Christmas trading period. Thankfully, there are ways to make sure your shopping list doesn’t put too big a dent in your budget. We found that by shopping at Aldi, families could save 20% on groceries compared to Coles and Woolworths. 

7. Give your loved ones gift cards

Buying the right gift for family and friends can be difficult, and despite your best efforts there’s still a chance they won’t be too thrilled with what you get them. Gift cards are just one way around this problem. In fact, 45% of Australians put gift cards or cash at the top of the wish list this Christmas, so it could be a pretty safe bet.

Related: 5 sustainable gift ideas to help you save money this Christmas

So while it might be easy to get swept up in a Christmas shopping frenzy, it doesn’t have to mean throwing your budget out the window. For more tips on how to save, check out our family finances hub.