Xinja's financial literacy guru Betsy is back with some money-saving hacks to get you through to the new year without the pain...
Christmas is literally my favourite time of the year - It’s mango season (nom, nom), the days are longer, there’s countless parties and everyone is in a good mood. It’s also a seriously expensive time of year with the average Aussie planning to spend $955* over the Christmas period on gifts and entertainment. Most of us tend not to stick to a budget and overspend during the festive season…...
As a povo student in my early twenties my cash position come Christmas time could be best described as a ‘Hugs Budget’. Happily, I picked up a few crafty hacks to get me through Christmas without a financial hangover which I still use today and I want to share them with you.
Sell your stuff: one man's trash is another's treasure
If I know I’m likely to overspend at Christmas, I look for crafty ways to pick up some extra dosh.
- Sell your stuff: They say that one man’s trash is another’s treasure, so why not sell some of your unused and unwanted items - clothes, surfboards, Thermomix. There’s a tonne of websites (Gumtree, Carousell, eBay and Facebook marketplace to name a few) that let you list items and turn them into cash in seconds.
- Rent out your place: If you’re away from home for Christmas why not sublet your apartment/house/room on Airbnb or Stayz?
- Register as an Uber driver: Ok, there’s a few things you need to do like have a licence, be over 21, have a 4 door sedan and a car less than 9 years old but if the shoe fits, why not?
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Regifting IS socially acceptable, but you must follow the etiquette!
Get smart with your gifting. Yes, it’s fabulous to spoil the ones you love but you don’t have to break the bank in the process.
- Kringle all the way: Agree with your family to do a Kris Kringle. That means you agree to buy just one person a super awesome present, rather than buying everyone a less than awesome present. Saves money and means you get a better gift!
- Kids Only Zone: If you’re at the stage of life where you and your siblings have kids, why not agree to only give presents to the kids. As the adults, your present can be your presence. Focus on spending time together - go for a walk, play a board game, cook together.
- DIY is fly: Are you a good cook, photographer, handyman? Why not make a voucher or a book of vouchers (go nuts!) for a loved one this Christmas. Offer to do family portraits, build a garden or be a personal chef for a night.
- Be a Scrooge: Compare prices before checking out and paying. Many companies offer a price match or to beat it by 10% if you find a cheaper price on a stocked item. Take them up on the offer! It’s easy to price match on your phone whilst waiting in the queue.
- Scrap the Christmas Cards: With electronic communications there’s no need to shell out a small fortune on Christmas cards and postage stamps. There’s a myriad of ways you can send messages of love and care - animate a video message through apps like Animate Me or Videomoji, send Christmas e-Cards through Paperless Post or Smilebox, better yet why not use the one you would have spent on cards and donate it to a charity? Most charities will offer this as a service like Oxfam Unwrapped, the Fred Hollows Foundation and RSPCA.
- Regifting: This one attracts much debate about whether it’s socially acceptable. I say it is, but you must follow the etiquette of regifting: 1) It must be NEW (no hand me downs, ever! EVER!) 2) It must be in the original packaging with tags still attached. 3) Without any indication it was meant for you.
Ask everyone to bring a plate and share the load (and expense) of hosting
If you’re like me, you love to catch up with all your loved ones at this time of year - friends, family and even colleagues! All this socialising can really put a dent in your hip pocket, but it doesn’t have to!:
- Share the load: By all means have everyone around for Christmas lunch, but it doesn’t mean you have to cater the entire event! Ask everyone to bring a plate and share the load (and expense) of hosting.
- Swap fancy bars & restaurants for the beach or park: I know it’s nice to ‘check-in’ at Bondi Icebergs and the venue is totally ‘gramable, but you and your mates will have just as much fun and enjoy the same view from the beach eating fish and chips and drinking a cheeky bottle of Charddy.
- Staycation: I know it’s fun to round up the troops and head somewhere exotic at Christmas, but why not try a staycation instead? Treat your hometown like it were a holiday destination and explore like a tourist. Use the money you would have spent on flights and accommodation to treat yourself to the best of what your hometown has to offer. And the good news is zero packing required!
So that’s it! Crafty Christmas hacks to help you financially survive the silly season. We would love to hear what yours are, so please comment below or drop us a line at [email protected] to let us know. Merry Christmas!
For the elimination of any doubt, the above is not in anyway intended to be financial advice. The statements above are just some friendly tips from Xinja.
Xinja is not a bank yet, but is working with regulators to become one. 🙂
*Commonwealth Bank, XMAS Spending Survey - November 2016. Note: due to low sample sizes in ACT, NT and TAS, figures for spending in these areas are not included.