Dipping into savings or using credit is a common way that many of us cope with the extra expenses of Christmas.
One way to reduce this financial strain is to reign in your pre-Christmas spending. As a follow up from Part I - 7 money saving hacks that really work - here are six more strategies to cut costs and avoid that January credit card hangover.
1. Plan to be organised
Organisation doesn’t come naturally to everyone, which is why making lists and thinking ahead can turn the least organised person into the most organised.
This is particularly important for Christmas present buying. There’s no quicker way to drain your wallet than wandering around the shops buying on impulse.
Become a conscious spender by making a list of who you’re buying for, what present ideas you have and how much you’re prepared to spend. Apply this forethought to every festive purchase, including food, entertainment and travel.
2. Go online
Avoid Christmas crowds and hefty price tags by shopping online. You’ll find the same products at a cheaper price by using comparison websites to source the best deal. Remember to factor in the cost of postage (or find free delivery deals).
Delete your payment information from ecommerce sites. It removes the temptation to impulse buy, if you have to stop and load these details each time you make a purchase.
3. Find a pre-loved bargain
Op shops and secondhand bookstores are a great place to hunt for inexpensive jewellery, toys, books and clothes. When you realise you don’t have anything to wear to pre-Christmas socials, search the op shops. Do this before automatically forking out top dollar on new clothes.
4. DIY lunch
Eating lunch out each day adds up to over two thousand dollars in a year based on a $10 daily budget. Reduce this cost dramatically by taking your own lunch to work, perhaps giving yourself a lunch out ‘treat’ once a week.
Too rushed in the mornings to find the time to make lunch? Try these time-saving tips: cook dinners in bulk and eat leftovers for lunch, make sandwiches and wraps on the weekend and freeze for the week, cut up vegetable sticks at the start of the week and leave soaking in water ready to grab for quick snacks.
5. Be price savvy about petrol
Petrol prices often rise in the lead up to Christmas, so it’s a good idea to look at ways to reduce your fuel bill. One option is to familiarise yourself with how petrol prices cycle up and down at the different service stations along your commute.
Don’t wait until your tank is empty to refuel, fill up whenever the price drops. Petrol price tracking apps like MotorMouth use a dot-e-map interface to show which are the lower priced servos in your area.
6. Learn to travel hack
Why pay full price for an airfare, when you can get it at a discounted rate by knowing the tricks of the trade?
Information like which days of the week/months of the year different airlines offer cheap fares, or which frequent flyer programs/credit card reward schemes will give you the best bang for your buck. Type ‘travel hacking’ into your search engine to access a wealth of discounted travel advice.