How to enjoy the summer holidays on a budget

Group walking by the sea, planning a summer holiday budget.

December heralds parties, presents and good cheer. But anyone who plays Christmas host or commits to innumerable secret santas knows all this festive fun adds up.

In 2019, Suncorp found the average Aussie’s celebration budget was $1,013. While shoppers and partiers are expected to rein in Christmas spending this year, even half of last year’s figure could cut into a holiday budget significantly.

So, if you are trying to factor in a bit of fun during the silliest of seasons, you might have to get creative with how you approach spending beyond the big public holidays. 

To help you get into holiday mode without draining your savings account, we’ve come up with a few tactics to help you pursue wallet-friendly adventures.

Request experiences for Christmas this year

We know ripping gaudy gift wrapping off presents makes for a joyful Christmas morn, but you may not need another pair of socks or a third pack of Cadbury Favourites. Conversely, demanding cash can feel a little grinchy.

Instead, ask your nearest and dearest to pick out fun activities you could do together over the summer and throw a giftcard your way. Collect vouchers to spas, surf schools, cinemas, theme parks and restaurants, and you’ve suddenly got great summer adventures up your sleeve. 

Just make sure they’re experiences-for-two or that you have a buddy willing to fork out the cash to join you. Heading to Wet’n’Wild solo just doesn’t feel right.

Invest in fun, don’t rent it

Yes, buying a kayak or snorkel and flipper set may cost more off the bat than renting them for the day. But if you’re looking at your budget long term it’ll work out cheaper (assuming you regularly have a paddle or snork).

A quick search across sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace can help you find pre-loved adventure items to bring the price down even further.

Experiment with summer deals

Instead of following the crowds to Westfield for Boxing Day sales, peruse the internet for free or cheap trials. There are a heap of online food and wine delivery services, fitness classes and entertainment subscriptions vying for your holiday attention. 

So, take advantage of their generous first-month offers and trials. Just remember to call it quits before any cut-off payment dates if it’s not your cup of tea.

Follow the free road to adventure

It’s an oldie but a goodie: choose the free option. As long as you’re armed with sunscreen and drinking water, summer is the ideal time for beach days, bush walks and bike rides. 

Back it up with cool-down movie arvos at home and watermelon dinners and you’ll barely spend a cent. If you’re a city dweller or live in a popular tourist spot, coastal paths and secluded spots will likely be packed, so you may need to factor in travel costs to avoid a mass of sweaty holidaymakers.

Find the best way to save

Make extra holiday spending money by ensuring you’re getting a top rate on your savings. Interest rates aren’t particularly hot right now, but there are still things you can do to be a proactive saver and earn as much interest as possible.

Start by comparing some of the high interest savings accounts below.

High interest savings accounts - last updated 23 October 2021

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Boost Saver with Go Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.50% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Intro bonus rate of 1.50% for first 3 months, reverting to 1.20% after. Deposit $2,000 each month and make 5 eligible payments from your Go Account. If you are between 18 and 25 deposit $1,000.

    Enjoy a savings account bundled with a spending account. No monthly fees. New customers can earn up to 5000 bonus Virgin Money points on purchases (conditions apply). Benefit together with a joint account

    Details
  • Online Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.10% p.a. (for $0 to $500,000)
    0.35% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    No account keeping fees. No minimum balance required. Unlimited phone and internet transactions.

    Details
  • Grow Saver
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    0.65% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Make at least 1 deposit and no more than 1 withdrawal, including internal transfers or external payments.

    Earn a maximum interest rate of 0.65% per year. Pay no monthly fees. Set up in-app savings goals. Benefit with joint account options.

    Details
  • High Interest Savings Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)
    0.25% p.a.(for $0 to $250,001)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    Kick start your savings with the 4 month introductory variable rate. No fees, no minimum balance, no minimum monthly deposit and no minimum term.

    Details
  • Fast Track Saver Account
    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    1.05% p.a. (for $1 to $250,000)
    0.05% p.a.(for $1 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000

    Ongoing bonus rate applied if in the previous month $1,000 or more is credited to the linked Day2Day Plus account and 5 eligible transactions are made by the linked account.

    Earn 1.05% p.a. Bonus Interest in the following month on your Fast Track Saver Account balance. Earn Bonus Interest on your savings, with no minimum balance required.

    Details

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Account Awards

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