How to be Financially Savvy during the Festive Season
Can you believe it’s December already? When you see that first batch of Christmas trees being sold in stores, you know another year is approaching its end. For most people, this is a time to gather with family and friends, for some it’s a time of reflection, and for many Australians, it will be a time of unparalleled spending!
This year alone, Australians are expected to spend $52.7 billion dollars during the Christmas trading period. At Pursue Wealth we love a good celebration and know many of our members feel the same way, so we have prepared some financial hacks to help you stay financially savvy in the month of December.
Tip 1) Set a budget
They say the best time to plant a tree (read: start saving for Christmas) is yesterday, but if you didn’t have this as a savings goal for 2019 and you’re now wondering how on earth you’re going to afford all the upcoming expenses without touching your emergency savings or leaning into credit card debt – the answer is to start a Christmas budget now.
Think about all the things you may need to spend soon (e.g. presents, decorations, food) and set a dollar limit on how much you’re allowed to spend on each category. This might mean you will have to get creative for some categories (more tips below), but if you stick to your limit you might even find yourself having fun with the challenge! If anything, your 2020 new year self will definitely thank you for the extra moolah.
Bonus financial hack for future you – before next year’s festive season, try playing the “No Spend November” money challenge, where you and your friends don’t purchase anything outside the essentials (bills/groceries) so you can accumulate as much savings as possible in preparation for December!
Tip 2) Plan your gifts
This one is simple. If you know what gifts you want to buy, you’ll be more likely to score a good deal when all the stores start rolling out discounts and special offers. There’s nothing worse than knowing you missed out on a deal that ended the day before!
If you’re shopping online, quickly comb the internet for a discount code, or use links on Cash Rewards or Shop Back to claim back a percentage of your shopping costs from your favourite online stores. You’ll be surprised to find how quickly the dollars add up when you’re spending frequently. At the end of the Christmas season, you can cash out your money to treat yo’ self in the new year!
Part of gift planning is also ensuring your gifts are meaningful and something the receiver will use. It’s not about purchasing the most expensive or impressive gift, more so choosing the gift with the most value.
Tip 3) Save extra money with technology
If you’re a foodie like me and it’s too difficult for you to completely cut eating out (I hear you), try using apps and websites like EatClub, Zomato Gold and The Fork to find quality restaurants offering special deals. This way, you can save money without compromising on your lifestyle and you may even discover a new restaurant or bar!
Another idea is to keep it real and temporarily cancel some of your subscriptions (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Gym) if you’re not going to use them during the month of December. Your work and personal inboxes are probably inundated with Christmas party invitations so we don’t blame you if there’s no time for anything else. If you go the extra mile to switch off unnecessary bills, it’s a win-win because you’ve saved some extra money!
Tip 4) Earning extra money with technology
A common way to earn extra money is to sell your pre-loved items online. Your chosen platform could be Ebay, Carousell (for clothes, beauty products, hair appliances), or Facebook Marketplace. This doubles up as a great way to declutter your space and prepare for the new year.
If you have a special talent or a spare weekend, you can also jump on apps and websites like AirTasker or Task Rabbit, to complete a project and earn some side income. The tasks advertised on there can range from administration to handyman work so you can find something that matches your skillset. For example, we have previously used these services to hire a photographer for an event!
Tip 5) Saving money with gifts
Most people would agree this is where the bulk of their December spending goes so we compiled numerous ideas to help you stay in budget for this category:
Playing Secret Santa / Kris Kringle – If you have a large group of friends who are celebrating Christmas together, you can all randomly draw a name and only buy 1 gift for your assigned person. Likewise, you will only receive 1 gift from your Secret Santa. Not only is it super fun to guess who bought your gift, you also save a lot of money by not having to gift everyone.
Joint experience – If you and a partner are used to spending lavishly on gifts for each other, why not try a joint experience instead? For example, you could book a couples massage or watch a movie in gold class. Sometimes, quality time together is worth more than a person can buy.
Regifting / Upcycling – Do you have an almost brand new item that you only touched once (when you bought it) but you know your friend would absolutely love? If your friends are interested, try a year of exchanging upcycled gifts instead of purchasing new ones. In this day and age of consumerism, we forget how many treasures are hidden right here in our homes.
No gift – As climate change becomes increasingly evident, more and more people are opting for no gifts during Christmas to reduce their carbon footprint on the Earth. We can’t deny this is equally wallet-friendly as it is eco-friendly and it could be the option you and your loved ones are looking for.
Tip 6) Saving money with food
Food and drinks come hand in hand with the festive celebrations but we know the costs of hosting a dinner party or Christmas lunch can stack up quickly. On top of preparing a food budget and having friends help out, we also covered 20 tips on how to save money with food in a previous blog post.
Tip 7) Donate instead of buy
If you have trouble choosing presents for people and don’t want to risk buying an unwanted gift, consider donating on your family or friends’ behalf. Most charities will have an option for you to donate a certain amount to support the cause you have chosen in various ways.
For example, with the Smith Family Foundation, donating $25 will allow a disadvantaged 8-12 year old enjoy the gift of puzzles and board games for Christmas. Meanwhile, donating $68 can provide a full Christmas stocking for a baby!
Something you might not know is that all donations above $2 to an Australian registered charity are also tax-deductible (all year round)! What better way to celebrate Christmas than to share your generosity with someone in need.
This year, the team at Pursue Wealth have decided to join The Smith Family’s Toy & Book Appeal to help put a smile on the faces of Australian children living in disadvantage this Christmas, children who would otherwise go without.
If you wish to donate and help us reach our team goal of raising $500, please click here to gift a donation. Otherwise, there are other charities in Australia dedicated to supporting various meaningful causes – Beyond Blue, Vision Australia, and Berry Street to name a few.