Merry Christmas!

This greeting either fills you with excitement and joy or dread and anxiety. Now that the commercial halls are decked with holly, sparkling lights and singing angels, and Santa and his elves (and maybe a reindeer or two) are checking their lists, it is difficult to avoid any reaction to the holiday season.

Regardless of whether you find delight and happiness in the festivities or wish it would just pass already, there is a common denominator.

Many people find it nearly impossible to control their spending, much less actually save money during Christmas. The expectations not only of beautiful decorations and family dinners but also of amazing expensive presents and possible holiday travel plans are a serious burden for most people.

 Tips to Save Money at Christmas Time

In 2018, Australians spent, on the average, $537 per person on Christmas, with a grand total of almost $11 billion. A new survey revealed that in 2019, Australians spent almost $20 billion on gift-giving, and although that is a broad figure and general topic, Christmas is definitely included in the parameters of the survey.

Therefore, the question of how to curtail spending this holiday season is quite relevant, especially in light of the shifting global economy which is combatting multiple recessions. Is it possible to have a fulfilling and fun holiday without having to spend thousands of dollars and maxing out the credit cards?

Absolutely! And this article aims to provide some advice for achieving that honorable goal. Obviously the first tip is to consume less and to buy less. All of the magic objects that advertising and merchants insist that you need for Christmas are not necessarily good for the environment or your budget, and you simply must have a budget.

Look critically at your current monetary situation and decide upon a realistic budget, and stick to it!

Make a Budget, and Stick to it!

When deciding upon this budget, include everything, not just gifts. It is easy to forget that holiday spending encompasses wrapping paper, cards, tree ornaments, gas for travel, plane tickets, food for dinner and other assorted decorations. Be honest and accept that you might not be able to afford to fly to see your best friend or aunt this year.

Listing your expenses will help with this exercise too and then you can allocate funds to the different categories on your master list.

Once you have a holiday budget, set spending limits, for example, $20 for tree ornaments or $50 per family member. Don’t forget the tried and true “Secret Santa”. It isn’t just for work anymore! An increasing number of families and friend circles have adopted this practice in order to save money. Not only does “Secret Santa” designate a person, it usually designates a reasonable spending limit as well.

Priorities Matter

If there is that one special person, a spouse or child, whom you feel deserves the best present, then discuss the matter with him or her and set rational boundaries and expectations. Managing expectations is another significant step for saving money.

Alleviate pressure on yourself and others by setting priorities and accepting the situation for what it really is, not what you want it to be. Easier said than done, but it definitely helps.

Another great practice is to track everything. This enables you to see if you are following your budget and curtailing your spending. It may be a pain to keep all of those receipts, but if you are keeping them in case of a return, then you can keep them for budgeting. This will also help you plan for next Christmas.

Shop Smart

Believe it or not, shopping early, or really late, does pay off. If you are an organized and efficient person, then shopping early for gifts means that you will benefit from sales that will disappear at the height of the season. Let the stores lure you in with their pre-season offers and two for one specials, because they really will ease the pain on your wallet.

However, if you are a procrastinator, fear not, because shopping on 24 December also guarantees lower prices, although your choices might be limited. It is a roll of the dice, waiting until the last minute, but the prices will be slashed since the stores will be trying to move their merchandise and start advertising for the next holiday.

If you want to do something outside of the box, then spending time with a loved one, or making them a present or food can be the greatest gift of all. Simple things can actually mean the most. Putting in the effort to be with someone not only makes them happy, but it is also free. Therefore, reevaluating and revaluing the gift-giving culture and what constitutes a gift are worthwhile endeavors.

Even implementing one or two of these tips will certainly lighten the burden on your bank account, causing Santa and all of his reindeer to be jolly. With minimum effort, you will be able to save money this Christmas, which will definitely put you and your loved ones on the “Nice” list.

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