Simple hacks to keep Christmas costs down
SHOPPING mayhem will put many Australians under pressure as they rush to fill their festive stockings in the remaining three weeks before Christmas.
To help avoid a blowout we have compiled a checklist on how to rein in your spending while also ensuring you have a jolly good Christmas.
New data from debt solutions agency Fox Symes found Australians' Christmas budget will hit a whopping $13.2 billion or about $680 each.
Fox Symes' director Deborah Southon said "the only way we can get through Christmas is to be very disciplined".
"We must set a budget at the very beginning otherwise you will be one of those people who come January will find you are unable to meet and maintain your credit card bills," she said.
"The minute you shop with credit you are spending money that you don't have and you have to pay it back."
Mother-of-three Jo Wilson said she had a separate Christmas Club account and tucked away $50 per month.
"We spend about $500 each per child so we just top up the amount at the end of the year," she said.
2. SHOPPING LIST
Check with family and friends to see if you can cut back your presents list.
Secret Santa is a good option so you are not left buying token presents for all your family and friends.
National Australia Bank's general manager (SA/NT), Gregg Harris, recommended penning out a list. "Make a list of people and what you'd like to buy for them as it can help avoid last-minute impulse purchases which blow the budget," he said.
3. LOOK FOR SPECIALS
Retailers have already rolled out plenty of discount deals at Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but don't worry if you missed out because there are always plenty of pre-Christmas sales.
Mr Harris said it was vital shoppers hunt around for the best deals before buying anything.
"Research can be done by collecting catalogues, checking stores' websites and by comparing online prices with instore prices," he said.
Ms Wilson said she was always hunting for good deals. "Junk mail is great, I use that and look through catalogues to find the cheapest price," she said.
4. ONLINE SHOPPING
The ease of shopping 24/7 has made it seamless to spend up big, but Ms Southon warned shoppers to show
restraint when purchasing online.
"Online shopping is always available, the risk is exponential and much greater than an actual shop," she said. "Before you press the button to say "buy" or "add to cart" stop, close the site and think about it."
Shoppers should also be mindful of being hit with postage costs too.