The holiday period can be hard on the budget, and this isn’t helped by Christmas being a time where overspending is not uncommon. Here are a handful of tips on how to add to your bank balance a little bit, so you’ve got extra cash for when the Christmas season hits.
1. Reduce financial jarring… with a jar
A savings jar can be an easy way of building up a small but noticeable reserve of cash that could make a difference in the holidays. Buy a large coin tin or jar and dump any stray coins from your wallet into it at the end of every day.
Even just a couple of months of habitual coin-dumping can leave you with a small but worthwhile sum, and those coins are better off in the tin than they are being spent on a morning coffee.
Canstar Senior Journalist, Shay Waraker, recently chatted to her grandfather about the savings he has made through his own coin jar. In eight months, his collection of coins has reached a total of $177.50. A great example of just how much you can save.
Even if you end up spending your jar of coins on typical, everyday needs like groceries or petrol, you’ve still knocked an expense off your list without having to resort to using a credit card or dipping into savings.
2. Switch out the daily java
I know, I know – the thought of skipping your morning cup of Joe from your favourite cafe will set panic into many people, but we say it because it’s true; money not spent is money saved, and forgoing takeaway food and drink is an easy way to save. Coffee might not be your indulgence of choice, but if you’re forking out cash every morning on a pre-work latte, toastie, or bagel – you may have just found an easy way to save your money.
Even though it’s late in the year, cutting out your $4 morning coffee in favour of making a tea or coffee at work could save you up to around $200 between now and Christmas, and also potentially be a good move health-wise.
For a more long-term approach to this idea, consider the money that future you could have access to if you invested that money instead.
3. Clean out and clean up financially
According to a recent report by Gumtree, the Australian second-hand economy is worth an estimated $34 billion, with the average household sitting on 25 unwanted items worth $4,200.
So, if you’ve got clothes you don’t wear anymore, or unused Christmas gifts still sitting around at home from last year, then eBay and Gumtree may help you turn your unwanted belongings into cash, as could a humble pre-Christmas garage sale.
Alternatively, apps like Carousel or the Facebook Marketplace are quickly becoming the go-to solution for people looking to sell anything. From ordinary household items like clothing, up to expensive pieces of technology and furniture, you could find a buyer near you for almost anything.
4. Make friends with meal prep
If you find yourself buying lunch or dinner a handful of times a week, perhaps you could try cooking and preparing your own meals instead and freezing leftovers. It could save you a fair chunk of money, and like tip number two, can’t hurt any health goals you might have.
Even if your daily lunch is only costing you $10, that still adds up to $50 a week – and if you are shopping smart, you could easily buy enough groceries for at least two weeks’ lunches with that amount, leaving more left over to go towards Christmas presents.
Traditional Bolognese Sauce: https://t.co/3C1TLw1VAh#LPT: Can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months use it in pasta dishes or serve it with herbed rice or couscous! pic.twitter.com/7SIgUafflm
— Woolworths (@woolworths) June 7, 2018
5. Guide your sleigh to the bargains
Many of us love having a table filled with glorious food at Christmas time, but this can set us back financially. If you’re looking for deals on groceries, buying items when they are discounted could really add up over the holiday period, and indeed beyond. Grocery shopping smart is likely to yield several small saved amounts, though that being said, don’t fall down the rabbit hole of buying groceries you won’t use simply because they’re on sale – as this will end up hurting your saving efforts.
And if you’re not averse to the idea of doing your grocery shopping online, sites like CashRewards often offer discounts and cashback on online vouchers for the big two supermarkets. This means if you shopped online, you could get $100 worth of groceries for closer to $90, or even $80.
6. Swap card for cash
If you take a finite amount of cash with you and leave your card at home every time you go out, you make it impossible for yourself to spend more than your daily budget. This can help reduce the frequency with which you impulse buy, thus potentially making it easier to save money.
By considering these tips and seeking out a few more for yourself, by the time Christmas rolls around you’ll hopefully have more than enough savings put aside to deal with the expenses of the holiday season.
Cover image source: pogonici (Shutterstock)