© AMP Life Limited. First published December 2016
If you’re wondering how you’ll make ends meet this silly season, check out these tips on how to spend, without spending every cent.
Summer in Australia can often be one of the busiest times of year with end-of-year work parties, Christmas, family gatherings, mini holiday breaks, not to mention New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
If you’ve been saving for something big or are just cringing at the thought of how you’ll make ends meet over the holiday period, don’t freak out yet. There are plenty of ways you can still have fun without spending all your savings or racking up serious debt on your credit card.
How to take on summer without spending a fortune
1. Write down your Santa list
There may only be a couple of weeks left until Christmas, but if you’ve still got things to buy, making a list, setting a budget and sticking to it could go a long way to ensure you don’t overspend or rack up additional debt. After all, Australians are due to spend over $9.7 billion on Christmas presents this year, which is up 28% on last year.i
2. Diarise your upcoming events
Knowing what’s happening and how much you’re likely to fork out will help you to manage your cash and allocate what you need for each occasion.
3. Take turns entertaining at home
This can significantly reduce the money you and your mates spend on eating out, particularly if everyone is happy to bring their favourite signature dish, juice of choice or fruit sorbet when temperatures are running high.
4. Make the most of the warm weather
Hit the beach, head to the local playground, or pack a picnic basket and enjoy a barbecue at a nearby park. It won’t involve entry fees and depending where you go, you could load up the fishing rods or even a footy for a friendly game.
5. Take an esky
You’ll save a fortune on food and cold drinks no matter what’s on the agenda.
6. Look out for meal and beverage specials
There are plenty of places where you can find two-for-one offers and other great deals. Websites like TheHappiestHour can give you some ideas and you may even find some new alfresco venues you haven’t been to along the way.
7. Travel smart
Carpool, get a lift, catch public transport, or ride a bike. Too many Taxis and Ubers can drain funds, particularly if you’re not keeping a record of how often you use them.
8. Cut accommodation costs
Bunk with mates, house-sit, swap accommodation, volunteer your skills for a place to stay, or have a staycation where you check out attractions close to home.
9. Search for holiday deals online
Look at comparison websites for flights, accommodation and transport. Doing your homework can often mean more spending money in your pocket.
10. Stick to using cash as much as possible
When you pay in cash, there’s no risk of you having to pay added interest charges. Plus, leaving your cards at home means you’re less likely to go over your budget as you can’t say—I’ll just take out another $100.
11. Trade with friends
If you’ve got more outings than outfits lined up, rather than hit the shops, borrow something from a mate. It doesn’t have to stop with clothes either. You could exchange homes for the week, swap movies, or trade sporting gear like bikes and fishing rods.
12. Research free events
Look up what’s on in your local area. There are often a variety of things happening over summer, such as food and wine festivals, street fairs and markets.
Whatever your agenda over the holidays, it’s important to have a realistic plan when it comes to your money. Give yourself some room for movement and still aim to avoid that financial hangover.