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It’s 12 weeks till Christmas! Savings strategies to stuff the Xmas stockings

Tuesday, 04 October 2016

Posted by Rebeccah Elley

This week marks more than just the start of daylights savings and the October long weekend, as it’s also the time when the official countdown to Christmas begins.

Yep, in less than 12 weeks, we’ll be throwing a shrimp on the barbie, building a sandman and showering our loved ones with Christmas cheer.

All this jollyness ultimately results in two things - the loosening of our belts thanks to all that Christmas ham and the tightening of our purse strings due to all that extra spending.

But what if you could avoid the dreaded holiday debt hangover by taking on a few savings strategies in the lead up to Christmas?

Check out the below to see how you could save a cool $1,000 in time for Santa:

1. Make no new purchases for 31 days - $200 for the Xmas fund

December is going to be a big spending month, so make October the month you steer clear of any new purchases. In fact, did you know October is actually coined Buy Nothing New month? When we spoke to the founder of the initiative Tamara DiMattina last year, she said Aussies could potentially save between $50-$100 each week.

2. Avoid the bite of late payment fees - $24 for the Xmas fund

It’s a simple tip - but according to research from the Commonwealth Bank one third of Aussies are still being stung by late payment fees with the average fee sitting at $24. But that could be Aunt Holly’s new bath salts or little Jay’s lego set. So you know what to do, set up those automatic payments and keep that money in your pocket not the banks.

3. Give your liver a break - $200 for the Xmas fund

While it’s next to impossible to avoid the grog during the silly season, it’s a whole lot easier in October and the savings can be considerable (when I did Dry July I was able to save $200). If you feel you’re a little late for OcSober, just make November your no alcohol month - not only will your wallet thank you but your liver too.

4. Whip out the packed lunch - $40 for the Xmas fund

Impress your colleagues with your amazing culinary skills by making a little extra for dinner and bringing it to work the next day. This was another challenge I took on, which saved me a nice sum of $40 over a week.

5. Avoid airline fees - $10.60 for the Xmas fund

Who hasn’t been stung by an airline booking fee? It’s that annoying charge that’s plonked onto the total at the end of your booking. But there’s a way to get around this by either paying with POLi, BPay or directly. For instance, with Qantas there are $0 fees with BPAY and Poli but you’ll be charged 1.06% with credit card, which on a $1,000 flight is $10.60.

6. Live like a local - $300 for the Xmas fund

Sick of paying a premium during the holiday season just for a bed to sleep on? Well with websites like AussieHouseSwap growing in popularity you could potentially stay for free by doing a house swap. You’ll get the local experience and even if you are only going away for a few days that’s at least a couple of hundred dollars in savings.

7. Get the best travel insurance deal - $80 for the Xmas fund

Adding to the above savings, you could also cut the cost of your travel insurance by shopping around. Our travel insurance quote tool shows for a traveller heading to Bali for a 6 day vacay, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive policy is around $80 and both policies come with unlimited medical cover.

8. Pick some plastic worthy of your wallet - $100 for the Xmas fund

How does your credit card compare to the market? If you don’t know the answer, it may be time to see what else is out there with a lower rate/annual fee card. Some credit cards at the moment will even give you cashback on your spend like the Virgin Money No Annual Fee Card, which comes with $100 cashback when you spend over $2,000 in first 3 months.

9. Be generous to just one person - $200 for the Xmas fund

Get a hat, stick all your family’s names it and then pull a name out one by one - you know the drill it’s Secret Santa! When my family did it a few years ago I saved $200 on the cost of Xmas presents, making it the cheapest Xmas I’ve ever had.  

10. Channel your inner Frankie - $35 for the Xmas fund

An alternative to Secret Santa is making homemade gifts. From Christmas truffles to cocunut macarons, taste.com.au has a range of Chrismast gift ideas that can be whipped up on the cheap. The potential savings? When my sister channelled her inner Frankie she saved $35 per person, as the ingredients only cost her $5 a pop.

The great thing about all these tips is it’s really up to you how far you take your savings - take on the no alcohol challenge for two months and there’s potentially $400 extra in your pocket, make all your gifts from scratch and bang there’s another couple of hundred.

If you have any tried and tested strategies for saving for Christmas, then pass on the wisdom in the comments below...

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