Straight Forward Advice on How to Control Christmas Spending
The Commonwealth Bank estimates from a study of 1,000 Australians that we will spend an additional $1,079 each between the 1st December and 6th January. With this in mind, you should realise that saving on every little purchase in the run up to Christmas can have a profound impact on your expenditure over the festive period. If you want to extend your budget this month to ensure you have enough to go around, take some advice from these straight forward (but effective) Christmas money saving tips.
Whether you save money through online shopping, buying discounted products or only hunting for bargains at low prices, it's generally an uphill battle find good value on every purchase. The smart thing to do is be aware of all the money saving advice around you as this will definitely help reduce your month's expenditure (without having to compromise on the festive fun).
It’s a mistake to stock up on food too early. Retailers love to hike up the price of festive goods when fewer people are buying them. This helps boost profits towards the start of December, but more importantly it lets retailers generate bigger profits later on in the month by encouraging shoppers with seemingly big discounts. So what you'll generally find is that the closer to Christmas you get, the greater the chance you have of finding discounted products because retailers don’t want to be lumbered with festive stock after Christmas.
After Christmas Day
It’s tradition to have plenty of food on Christmas day, but buying too much and wasting food is a sure fire way to waste your money as well. It’s no use hunting around for the best deal, if you then end up throwing half of the food away. Make a plan for your Boxing Day’s meal if you are buying a huge piece of ham so that you can re-use any of the leftovers. Otherwise consider buying two or three smaller hams from different animals, so that meals over the next few days don’t become too repetitive.
Sending and receiving Christmas cards is something many of us like to do, but it can quickly become expensive if we have to post them to far off destinations. A top Christmas money saving tip in this respect is to create an online video instead. Video sharing is instant and with so many free platforms to use these days (WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook), it really is one of the cheapest and most thoughtful ways you can send a Christmas greeting to loved ones.
Buying for Adults
Buying for adults, or at least those who appear to have everything you believe that they could want, can be very difficult. There's no point spending your money on a last minute product if there's a chance they won't use at all. Instead, why not look at getting them a rewarding experience? Perhaps it’s your grandparents who are difficult to buy for this year, in which case you can consider buying them a discounted dinner deal for two (here are numerous suggestions in either Sydney or Melbourne). If dinner isn’t something they would enjoy, look at the wide variety of experiences available on daily deals websites such as Scoopon, LivingSocial and OurDeal for more inspiration.
Hunting for Deals and Bargains
Retailers love to entice customers with discounted products, but it’s knowing which are actual bargains that's key. Online communities like Buckscoop post real money saving deals every day to guide you as to which promotions offer true value for money (since the opinions of our community members tend to be far more objective than those of the retailers).
Check out our deals page to find some of the hottest bargains on offer right now.
It also pays to think outside the box when hunting for a bargain. For example, try looking for anything that you might want this coming winter, because many retailers will have related products still in stock which they'll be looking to shift at heavily discounted prices. So while the Christmas, Boxing Day or New Years sales are on, you can often find some incredibly good deals on winter based products. Things like radiators, heaters, or any left over warm clothing tend to see some of the biggest price drops over December/January.
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, our Vouchers page can help you find discounts at retailers who you usually shop with. Otherwise services such as Shopbot.com.au help scan websites to find the best online prices if you happen to be looking for something that hasn't been covered on Buckscoop.
Cash Back Credit Cards
Numerous banks (e.g. Virgin, Citi, American Express) offer cash back incentives for using their credit cards. Normally we don’t recommend the use of credit cards because it’s a slippery slope. However, if you're disciplined enough to apply for one ONLY to be used during December, then cash back discounts can sometimes help you save quite a bit of money on purchases you would have made anyway. This is particularly useful if you're struggling to find sales or other forms of discounts for the majority of the gifts on your Christmas shopping list.
Just make sure that you use this option solely for the gifts you've already budgeted for, as it's easy to fall into the trap of seeing the cash back as an extension of your credit and spending more than had you initially planned to.
Expect to find plenty of other useful articles coming up on the Buckscoop blog in the run up to Christmas with advice on how to save money or where to buy the cheapest goods online. So thanks for stopping by and please leave me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions as I'd love to hear from you.