Australians plan to spend over $46 billion dollars in retail stores over the Christmas season and with this comes the pressure to buy that something special. Gift giving can be expensive, often leading to that dreaded credit card bill come January but it doesn't have to be that way.
Here are 10 tips to save this Christmas.
Nearly 17% of Australians are planning to spend more money this year than last year so avoid the momentum of Christmas and plan what gifts you are giving to avoid the "grab as you go" when you hit the shops.
Start early with your shopping to avoid the last minute rush as this generally means you will be paying more at the counter than what you had planned as you are under pressure to buy whatever you can get your hands on.
Rethink the Xmas Card
Why not save money on Christmas cards and instead do a family Xmas video message. Smart phones, IPad and similar devices allow for easy videoing that can be sent via instant messaging or email to friends and family at no cost.
Avoid the shops altogether and shop on the internet. Many major department stores have online stores and this will avoid wandering around the shops and picking up gifts you didn't really want to purchase.
Shop around on the internet or in catalogues. It is easy to find a good price by entering into google the name of what you are buying following by the word "price". This will give you a list of retailers with price comparisons to hook yourself a bargain.
Give low-cost gifts to celebrate Christmas Day and then save money by buying gifts in the new-year sales. Alternatively give a gift card as this allows buying gifts after Christmas when the sales are on, giving the recipient more bang for their buck.
Everybody loves a secret Santa and it's a great way to save money on gifts as it means one quality gift as opposed to many gifts for the family.
Give an experience
Everyone has someone in the family who has everything and doesn't need more "things". Instead, organise a family reunion for them, take them on a picnic, driving tour or offer to babysit children as a way to give a gift that doesn't require an outlay of money.
If you are handy in the kitchen, why not cook your gifts? A Christmas pudding or treats are not only practical but lighten the load on the recipient when it comes to filling the table. Not only are they personalised but they will save you money with a little investment of your time.
It may be hard but if you have planned your gifts, there is no reason why you can't leave your credit card at home and just take cash. A little bit of discipline may avoid the credit card hangover come January.
Share the load
If Christmas is at your place this year, ask family members to bring a plate to help lighten the load and cost of Christmas lunch or dinner. Ask everyone to bring a plate to create a buffet style meal.
I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and create some special memories with your loved one.
Why not increase the financial savviness of those around you – pay it forward and pass on these tips to your family, friends and kids.
Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is a respected and independent financial expert. Olivia's advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.