The Christmas period can be hard on the wallet, and this isn’t helped by Christmas being a time where overspending is not only common, but encouraged! Here are a handful of tips on how to beef up your bank balance a little bit, so you’ve got extra cash for when the Christmas season hits.
1. Set up a savings jar
A savings jar can be an easy way of building up a small but noticeable reserve of cash that will definitely 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 then they are being spent on a morning coffee.
Even if you end up spending them on something dull and everyday like groceries or petrol, you’ve knocked an expense off your list without having to resort to using a credit card or dipping into savings. That’s a fantastic result!
2. Buy less coffee
It sounds a bit trite, 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, congratulations – you’ve 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 an instant coffee at work from October onwards could save you anywhere upwards of $200, 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 coffee money instead!
3. Sell old stuff
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; maybe half the stuff that got handed out last Christmas sits around unused, then eBay and Gumtree are definitely your friends, and can help you turn unwanted or unused belongings into cash, as could a humble pre-Christmas garage sale. Set up an account if you don’t have one already, and take advantage of the 40 free listings you can get per month on eBay.
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’re likely to find a buyer near you for almost anything.
4. Make your own meals
If you find yourself buying lunch or dinner a handful of times a week, try cooking and preparing your own meals instead. It’ll save you a fair chunk of money, and like tip number 2, can’t hurt any health goals you might have.
Even if your daily lunch is only costing you $5 or $6, that still adds up to $30 a week – if you were shopping smart, you could buy enough groceries for two week’s meals with that amount! Try having a look through social media and blogs for some cheap and healthy recipes.
— Woolworths (@woolworths) June 14, 2016
5. Look for sales
Whether you’re looking for deals on groceries or potential Christmas gifts, buying items that are discounted will certainly add up at the end of the week or month. Grocery shopping is likely to yield several small saved amounts, whereas you’ll want to look for large discounts when gift shopping. That being said, don’t buy groceries you won’t eat simply because they’re on sale, as this will end up hurting your saving efforts by wasting money.
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 dramatically reduce the frequency with which you impulse-buy, making it so much easier to save money.
If you stick to these tips and seek 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.