For some, mid-October may seem too early to start saving for the festive season, but being just 10 weeks out from Christmas, it’s important that you start preparing now.
Whether your kids want the latest gadget or you’re planning a family holiday, having money saved before December will definitely take a load off your shoulders.
We’ll discuss ways that you can save ahead of the festive season by rethinking your spending as well as being smart with your gift buying.
One of the first things you can do to make sure you don’t fall into further debt is to start budgeting.
Using a budget planner or other budgeting tool is a good place to start as this can give you a better idea of how much you can spare and highlight areas that you can cut down on.
Once you have have a better understanding of your finances, you can set a maximum gift spend for both individual presents and the total amount you want to spend on gifts overall.
This should be your savings goal in the lead up to gift buying.
If you’re not completely sure what this dollar amount should be, think about how much you spent last year and consider where you can cut back to spend less.
So now that you know how much you need to save, what are some things you can actually do to help realise your savings potential?
- Cut down. This might be sacrificing your daily coffee, giving up your gym membership or resisting impulse buys. You could even pause your Netflix subscription for the next couple of
- Reduce your bills. Saving doesn’t always have to be about sacrifice. Look at the expenses you’re paying and determine whether you can get a better deal on your bills. If you call your mobile, broadband or electricity provider to let them know you’ve found a better rate, they will often be happy to match it or offer you a better one. Similarly, if you have a good credit score, you might be able to contact your home loan lender to see if they can reduce your repayments.
- Sell your things. If you have a look around your home, you’re almost certain to find something you don’t need. Clothes, furniture, knick-knacks. There are a variety of platforms you can use to sell your things such as Gumtree, eBay, Facebook and Carousell.
When it comes to saving on the gifts themselves, this is definitely something you can also start planning for now.
Make a list of the people you want to buy gifts for and figure out what type of present you’re looking to get them.
Then, try your best to spend the smallest amount possible while still showing how much you care.
The following tips are great for cutting costs on gift buying:
- DIY what you can. Sometimes, DIYs can come off as tacky or cheap, but if you do it right, your gift will be worth the effort. Time to start scrolling through Pinterest!
- Forget the “fillers”. Wrapping paper, Christmas cards and candy canes aren’t a must. If you’re buying gifts for a heap of people, these costs can definitely add up. If you’re adding fillers such as chocolate or scratchies to your kids’ stockings, think again.
- Score deals online. With a plethora of online stores to choose from, you can start shopping for gifts from the comfort of your own home. By signing up to email lists and following your favourite stores on social media, you’ll be the first to know about any exclusive deals available, and you may even score a discount along the way!
- Don’t pay a ton for shipping. Shipping costs can be anywhere from $5 to $20, or even more if you’re buying a large item. To avoid shipping costs, plan to purchase multiple gifts from the same site, enough to waive the shipping fee. Generally, you’ll be able to get free shipping if you spend over $100 or sometimes even just $50. Planning your gifts early also means you won’t have to pay for express shipping costs and there’ll be plenty of time for your items to be delivered.
The earlier you start planning for gift giving, the more time you can spend with your loved ones during the holiday season and the less time you have to spend worrying about money or sinking further into debt.
Bessie Hassan is a Money expert at finder.com.au
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