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How To Save Money At Christmas

by thriftyfrugalfun (follow)
Thrifty is a mum of 3 who is passionate about living a happy, simple and frugal life. You can read her blog at: thriftyfrugalfun.blogspot.com.
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Christmas tree
Image courtesy of morgueFile

At Christmas, retailers rejoice with it being the busiest time of the year. Statistics show Australians spend a whopping estimated $17.8 billion during the holiday season. But for us regular folk, Christmas can be a stressful time of the year, with gifts to purchase adding to an already stretched budget.

Here are some tips on how to have a great Christmas with what you have, rather than dealing with unwanted new year debt.

Make a list and check it twice
Start by making a list of all the people you want to give gifts to: immediate family, friends etc. If you find the list is bigger than anticipated, can you reduce it a little? If you have families to buy for consider getting a joint gift like a popcorn maker or something the whole family can use.

Set a budget
It is so easy to overspend during the Christmas period, with impulse buying at an all time high. Be strict, spend only what you can afford, make a budget and be realistic about it. If your finances are really stretched, why not make some homemade gifts. There are cheap and simple festive recipes online like fudge or biscuits. Here's a list of 20 edible gifts to make which includes some great ideas. These bath bombs are also easy and make lovely gifts.

Image courtesy of morgueFile

Avoid using credit cards
Shop only with cash. It will be easier to shop within your means if you only have a fixed amount of cash on hand. If you don't have the cash, don't buy it. Credit card debt is at an all time high after Christmas. To avoid this, don't use credit unless it can be paid off straight away to avoid any extra interest charges.

Image courtesy of morgueFile

Use accumulated loyalty/reward points
Save up your Flybuys, Everyday Rewards points or any other points accumulated during the year and use them to purchase gifts or Christmas food. I have done this for the past 2 years and it works really well for me. I let the points accumulate all year until December and use them to buy ham, turkey and special food items for Christmas Day.

Check the specials and buy store brands
Specialty grocery items will be on sale leading up until Christmas, it can pay to stock up on items before the frantic Christmas Eve rush. Buying store name brands can also save lot of money. You can easily buy cheaper mince pies and Christmas pudding and once it is served up on a fancy platter your guest will be non the wiser. Also stock up of items like cooking chocolate and baking items while they are on sale. Then you have items ready on hand to whip up and edible gift in no time.

Remember to pick up items like wrapping paper and labels after Christmas as they often go down to 75% off the original price.

Image courtesy of morgueFile

Shop online
Many gifts can be purchased online, at a fraction of the cost of retail stores. Also use price comparison websites to ensure you are getting the best possible price.

Last but not least, relax! Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends, not about how much or little money you spend.

Related Articles:

Save money of gifts by making your own
Make the most of your Flybuys points

#Save money
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