Summer brings with it many events to look forward to. Think Christmas, New Year’s Eve, end of year parties, beach holidays and numerous gatherings with friends and family. 

But with these festivities can come great expenses – especially if you have children. Financial education website, Finder, shows that South Australians spent an average of $1,112 on Christmas in 2021, spread across presents, food, alcohol, eating out and travel. That’s a lot of money if you weren’t prepared for it – hence why 23% of Australians go into debt to cover their Christmas costs. 

While it may seem a little early, ensuring that you have savings in place for the holiday celebrations means you can start 2023 without the debt. Here are some ideas on how to keep your finances in the green this Christmas. 

Set up a Christmas Savings account

Preparing a financial buffer for the silly season is key to ensuring you don’t start the new year in debt. Rather than relying on your pay checks throughout that time, start by bolstering your bank account now. Choose an amount that you can bear to part with in each pay cycle, put this in a separate savings account and - most importantly - don’t touch it! This could be $10 a week or $100 - any amount of savings is a good amount.

Budget, Budget, Budget! 

While it may feel like it takes some of the magic out of Christmas, having (and sticking to) a budget is essential. Start by listing all the presents and events that you will need to buy and attend, and assign each a value. This way, as you work through your list of gifts, you will have an idea of how much to spend on each person and a budget for each of the dinners and end of year gatherings you attend. 

Of course, a budget only works if you stick to it. Tracking your spending and what you have bought is a great way of maintaining the discipline it takes to budget. For those that start their Christmas shopping early, it can be easy to forget how much you’ve spent. It helps to keep track to ensure you don’t forget to buy for certain people, or you end up finding ungiven gifts when it’s time to spring clean the following year. This Christmas present planner is a great way to make sure that doesn’t happen (again…) this year. 

Cashback, discounts and sales

There is no shame in buying your loved one’s gifts on sale. Now that you have your budget sorted for each person, it’s time to make sure you are taking advantage of the sales, discounts and cashback offers available at this time of year. Being aware of the sales days for 2022, you can then start scoping out the shops for gifts – they’ll never know you got it for less than full price. 

To make full use of the sales days, ensure that you also maximise any discount codes or cashback offers available. What is cashback you ask? Websites such as ShopBack and Cashrewards essentially reward you for shopping at popular brands through their website by returning a percentage of the purchase to your bank account. Using these sites, alongside savings days and discount codes, could see you saving big these holidays. 

Handmaking gifts

It really is the thought that matters. For those who you would like to gift something small and heartfelt to, try making something yourself. Some nicely packaged cookies or rocky road never goes astray, so dust off the recipe books and start baking. While it may cost you some time, your wallet will thank you. For more ideas on gifts from the heart, this blog might be able to help