Doing a Christmas budget? Make your money last all summer long

Little girl hugs dog with reindeer antlers on, in front of Christmas tree.

We know this time of year can be tough financially, but the thing is Christmas doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you spend less on Christmas and keep your finances healthy over the holidays.

Christmas, time not money

The key to not spending a lot at Christmas is to give people time rather than money. Instead of buying more stuff for your loved ones, why not bake up some tasty goods. You could even go to a local park and have a picnic. Bring out the family board games and have a ball or do arts and crafts together. 

Honestly it’s really about changing our attitudes towards the holiday season. After all, if you think back to some of your happiest Christmas day memories, they might not be about presents but more about a relaxing day spent with loved ones.

Shop pre-loved

If you still want to buy a gift or two for the special people in your life, why not opt for pre-loved instead of new. This kind of buying is not only better for your wallet but also the planet. You can find some great, one-of-a-kind pieces in op shops or even on websites such as Gumtree.

There are even websites and apps where people give stuff away for free these days, such as Freecycle and Olio.

Shift your budget

Of course, you may want to take a mini break, which will cost a bit extra. The trick is to rework your budget a little over December, January and even February.

Money saving app Pocketbook’s head of partnerships, Freya Hunter says that “enjoying yourself over the summer period doesn’t mean you need to put a dent in your savings at all. It just means you need to plan a little more ahead before and after summer, to ensure it all evens out over time.”

Hunter suggests depositing a bit extra in January to make up for your indulgences in December. For next year you could even start saving more ahead of time, say in October and November, so that you’re prepared for the Christmas rush. 

The point is to plan for the extra spending in December and possibly the beginning of January and to make sure that you can make up for it afterwards. Plus, as Hunter says if you have a young family, you could even encourage your children to get involved in your savings journey.

“Incentivise them by treating saving money like a game by getting them to think about odd jobs around the house they could do for extra pocket money,” she says. 

Cost-friendly mini break

Although borders are starting to reopen, for the sake of your budget it might be a good idea to plan a mini break within your state or territory. Have a scoot around Google maps to see if there are any little hidden gems you haven’t discovered. In pre-Covid days many of us might have been guilty of always looking to jet off overseas on holiday, without first discovering the beautiful spots on our doorstep.

Some other tips to make sure your mini break doesn’t break the bank include:

  • Booking accommodation well ahead of time. The sooner to your holiday you book, the higher prices will be.
  • Bring pre-packed meals and snacks. Depending on how long you’re going for, you could bring pre-packed meals and snacks. Eating out can really add up and if you intend to do some nature walking or strolling on the beach, it might be a great idea to bring your own food and save a bit of cash.
  • Look up free things to do. Speaking of nature walks, do some research before you get there on all the free things you can amuse yourselves with. This could be bushwalks, visiting museums or going for a swim in the sea.

You can honestly have a truly great time on a budget.

Lastly, Hunter says that Pocketbook data shows a steady increase in savings over the past three years. She says this could be motivated by people wanting to save for a house, holiday or a car.

If that sounds like you or even if you’ve just started out saving, you might want to ask yourself if your savings account is really cutting the mustard? There are so many to choose from these days, including lots with different features to help you save. So, why not check out the offerings below, or head to Mozo’s compare savings accounts page for a longer list of options.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 26 February 2024

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