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20 Ways Your Family Can SAVE This Festive Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it?! Christmas can really put a BIG strain on a lot of families. It’s a struggle to try and match expectations with reality when it comes to splashing out cash on presents, food, decorations and festivities. Is it possible that the phrase “Christmas savings” could EVER exist?!

We think we’ve come up with some Christmas savings that will take some of the pressure off without sacrificing any of the fun! Here are our suggestions. Feel free to comment at the end of the article if you’ve got any clever hints and tips of your own!

Where to find Christmas Savings this holiday season

For ease of use (because time is money!) we’ve divided this guide into sections to help you stretch your Christmas dollars further.  But there are some general tips to get you saving money sooner too.

Christmas Savings – FOOD tips

christmas savings food

1. Save on meat

Meat becomes a lot more expensive the closer you get to Christmas. Be conscious of this and purchase meat earlier with the intention to freeze it. There are definitely significant Christmas savings to be had in this area. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if Christmas seafood is your thing – but our Christmas seafood guide might help!

2. Keep meals simple

Resist the urge to turn Christmas Lunch into a decadent banquet. If people wanted that, there are plenty of places they could go to instead! What about having a simple BBQ where everyone brings a plate? Delegate the mains, salads, and desserts and ask that everyone contributes. This is a REAL way to make some significant Christmas savings.

3. Meal plan for Christmas

Meal plan for the festive season – including the days around Christmas. Factor in that you’ll be eating leftovers for a few days but don’t neglect to also purchase other foods for meals surrounding the festivities. Otherwise, it’ll be expensive takeaway which could very well tip your budget right over!

I just updated our article about where to get cheap groceries in Brisbane.

Christmas savings – present tips

christmas savings presents

4. Do a Secret Santa

Got a big family or a big friendship group? Little presents can really sneak up on you when the bills come through. Consider organising a Secret Santa with your nearest and dearest. Put a price limit on it and make sure you keep everyone up to date with expectations and deadlines. Here’s a link to a site that we’ve used in the past to run our own Secret Santas! 

5. Shop around

Do not buy the first thing you see. Look through catalogues (print and online). Keep an eye out for vouchers. Stalk bargain sites. Check out company Facebook pages. Shop smart rather than impulsively!

6. Give the gift of time

What about giving the gift of time or an experience instead of plastic toys that chew through batteries? Make a booklet filled with family-friendly activities – a day out at the beach, a day spent touring playgrounds or a day of bush-walking. Making memories is about really engaging with each other, not objects! This list of experiences will get you thinking!! You can also see what deals are available on experience gifts on ExperienceOz.

7. Make a photobook for Christmas

Everyone (grandparents in particular!) loves to look back on photos of their loved ones. What about making a photo book? Keep an eye on savings sites like *Groupon for bargains in the lead up to Christmas. Savings ahoy!

8. Bake your gifts

Looking for presents for teachers and care-givers? Get baking! Bake en masse and wrap everything up nicely and you’ll be snacking on sugar cookies and mince pies for weeks to come! We love these gingerbread cookies.

9.  What about Op shops?

Brisbane Op Shops or Gold Coast Op Shops? Get serious about presents. A lot of people put in a little system like – “Something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need”. Talk to your kids about realistic expectations and the need to cut down on unnecessary spending (and the horrible waste that comes with it).

Christmas savings – organisational tips

christmas savings santa

10. Budget, baby!

Sit down well beforehand and figure out your budget parameters for Christmas. Brainstorm to try and include all the incidentals. This could include items like plane tickets, alcohol for that big family gathering, putting the pets into accommodation while you go away – it all adds up! Plan out all your expenses EARLY and plan accordingly.

11. Use lists!

We’ve got an article that suggests great apps that you can use to keep your family organised. We’d suggest setting up a Christmas Wunderlist to keep track of everything that needs to be done so you don’t get overwhelmed and do a panic buy at the last minute.

12. Make room for the new

You might be able to start building your own little money tree today. Have a look around the house – is there anything that you could sell to bring in some extra pre-Christmas dollars? It’s never been easier to sell your old stuff online – get on board! Garage sales, too! 

13. Buying online?

Can you pick up in store rather than delivery? This Christmas savings tip is a great way to cut down on those pesky delivery charges that add up over time.

14. Decorating?

Make your own! Get the kids involved and ask them to spend a few afternoons getting crafty. Not only is this a great way to make some Christmas savings but it’s also an excellent school holiday activity that’ll keep little minds and hands occupied for large periods of time. Score!

15. Feeling really organised?

Head out on Boxing Day (or close thereafter) and start planning for NEXT Christmas now! Might have to ask Santa for some storage space…

16. Set time limits on shopping

Give yourself time limits rather than wander aimlessly through the shopping centre for days at a time. An “In and Out” mentality is much more conducive to Christmas savings and preventing over buying! It’s super easy to forget what you’ve already got at home when faced with expert Christmas marketing!

17. Be realistic.

The holidays are what you make of them. Your kids won’t remember the dollar signs – what they WILL remember is the time they spent with you. Make the most of it.

christmas savings together

In a Nutshell – Our Top 3 Tips for Christmas Savings

18. Write a list and check it twice.

The most successful way to save money at Christmas is to be prepared (it’s not just for the Scouts!) Know what you want to spend money on and create a budget. Use our Christmas planning downloadable here.

19. Communicate

Communicate with your loved ones so the Christmas expectations are set ahead of December 25 – no one wants to be caught short on the big day!

20. Time is better than money.

Seriously think about what experiences you can do for and with your loved ones instead of how much you can spend on them!

Christmas savings tips?

Have you got any more ideas to help people make real Christmas Savings? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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