Tis’ the season to be jolly, but the silly season leaves many Australians feeling broke and blue when January arrives.
According to money expert Ali Cassim from RateCity it doesn’t have to be this way. Here, she shares her top tips to curb your Christmas spending.
1. Set a budget – work out what you can afford and who you want to buy for and how much you can spend on each of your family and friends. Impulse buying is quite common at Christmas, and having a budget can help you to stick to what you can afford and enjoy your spending
2. Use cash not credit – If you can, pay cash to avoid being charged interest on credit card purchases and accumulating debt. If you must use a credit this Christmas, have a plan to repay the balance within the interest free days. If not, you could find yourself saddled with interest-earning debt. RateCity estimates that Aussies will ‘gift’ around $10.7 million to credit card providers in the form of extra interest revenue in January. If you’re among those, then using a balance transfer credit card could help ease the burden or consider rolling the debt into a low-interest personal loan.
3. Shop around – If you are an early Christmas shopper, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing your shopping online. But even if you’ve left it a bit late, you can still save money by researching and comparing prices online before visiting a store to make the purchase. By just doing a simple search on a particular item you can find where to buy it cheaper and potentially save a whole lot of money – and ease the stress of hitting the shops! Most large retailers will price-match or give you a better price for cash, so it pays to do your homework.
4. Consider your options for Christmas activities – There can be so many wonderful family and friend events and catch-ups at this time of year, and before you know it, the financial cost of it can result in a major bill. To make it more affordable, reconsider offers for activities that will require you to spend a lot of money and suggest cheaper alternatives, such as picnics, lunch at home where everyone contributes a dish, or choosing BYO restaurants to rein in the bill. These can often be more fun anyway as they’re more relaxed and you won’t be worrying about the cost!
5. Don’t blow your holiday budget – Aussies are renowned travellers, but if latest research is anything to go by, we’re not so good at keeping a lid on holiday spending. Around 40 percent of travellers blow the holiday budget, and while two-thirds of travellers use credit when overseas, nearly 80 percent don’t understand the costs associated with paying on plastic. Use RateCity to look for a card with low interest rates, little or no ATM fees or foreign exchange charges and one that offers great free perks such as travel insurance – it could save you a small fortune!
Find great rates for home loans, credit cards, car insurance and more at RateCity.com.au