Don’t get silly with spending this silly season
Saving for a first home deposit? Avoid a costly Christmas with these 10 money-saving tips
We don’t want to alarm you but…Christmas is only 6 weeks away!
And while it’s the time of year that brings loved ones together for celebration and quality time, let’s face it – it’s also a major drain on your finances.
And when you’re saving for a deposit to buy your first home, the added costs can be stressful.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, there’s no better time to start thinking about how your holiday spending will fit in with your saving plans. And we have 10 easy tips to get you there…
1. Get organised early
Don’t leave Christmas shopping and planning till December when you’ll be overwhelmed and more likely to panic-spend.
Make lists now of:
- who you need to buy presents for and what you will get them;
- any food/drink supplies you will need;
- any travel plans for you and your family;
and then shop around and book well in advance to make the most of sales, lay-by and early bird offers.
As well as feeling more in control, planning in advance also gives you the time to decide on the most thoughtful gifts – which are often not the most expensive ones.
2. ‘Carpool’ your Christmas gifts
Cut the number of gifts you need to buy by talking to your family about the Secret Santa approach – where you only buy one special gift for one person (draw the names out of a hat to decide who buys for who). Or perhaps make a rule that presents are only bought for the kids and with a spending limit for each.
3. Establish a budget
Once you’ve completed tips 1 and 2, set a budget that you can stick to and that won’t eat away at your home deposit savings. And then - only buy what you can afford.
4. Shop online to get the best deals
Save yourself a heap of time and legwork by shopping online. Compare prices between retailers or ask for price matches and make sure you factor in the cost and timing for delivery to make sure you get everything delivered in time.
5. Consider DIY vouchers
Who wouldn’t love a night or 2 of free babysitting to have a long-overdue date night with their loved one? Or to have their home windows cleaned inside and out, or a week’s worth of delicious home-cooked meals taken care of?
Often a simple DIY gift is the most memorable and appreciated (not to mention a great money saver for those on a tight budget).
6. Give to those who need it more
There’s no better way to embrace the Christmas spirit (and get that warm, fuzzy feeling) than to help someone less fortunate than you are. Talk to your family about donating the money you would have spent on presents to a cause each of you are passionate about.
This keeps you out of the shops, everyone stays within a budget they can afford and your money will be going to someone who needs it more.
7. Track your spending
Keep on top of your spending by using the ASIC ‘TrackMySpend’ app. This will ensure you don’t blow you budget and act as a reminder to avoid those impulse purchases.
8. Swap card for cash
Putting all you purchases on the credit card is way too easy – and that's why many find themselves overspending around Christmas time.
If you want to stick to your budget this year, it’s time to go old-school - withdrawing your Christmas budget from the ATM and paying for everything in cash will encourage you to think about each purchase carefully and slow down your spending.
9. Have a clean out and sell unwanted items
With the big move into your first home just around the corner, there’s no better time to have a good old spring clean. Not only will this avoid unnecessary clutter in your future home, it’s also a great way to make a little money on the side.
Clothes and shoes in good condition can be sold on sites like Ebay or Gumtree, or you could find a local vintage market.
Good quality furniture or household items can also be sold online – join your local Facebook Buy/Swap/Sell groups for an easy (and free!) selling platform.
10. Comparison shop your home bills
This is a big one. Did you know that 7 out of 10 Victorians are paying too much for their energy bills? And the ones paying the most are usually those who haven’t changed their provider in years. If that sounds like you then it’s time to find a better rate – today.
A typical household could save as much as $1,000 a year by switching from the most expensive to the cheapest deal – that buys a lot of Christmas presents!
And it’s so easy to do. Grab your recent bills and visit Victorian Energy Compare to see how they measure up against other providers or use one of the many free services that will compare your bills and find you the best deal available – plus they’ll even take care of all the paperwork for you.
What saving tips will you be using this silly season?
Click here for your free finance health check. You may be closer to buying your new home than you think.