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We all know this time of year can get a bit expensive, and this year has had its own additional challenges. While the festive season might be the furthest thing from our minds, now is the time to start planning for it. Assemble’s financial coach, Sarah Matzouranis, shares her top 10 tips to help you save money and still enjoy the holidays:
1. Have a pre-event holiday clean up – Clean up around the apartment (or house) and sell any items you don’t need. For those outside of Victoria, hold a garage sale, or find a local buy-swap-sell; Victorian residents can still sell things online and send via post or arrange contactless pickups. It’s a great way to make sure your unwanted belongings aren’t going to landfill while making some extra money along the way.
2. Make a list and check it twice – Start by creating a list of who you’re buying a gift for and allocate a spend amount. Once you calculate the total cost you may like to review it and look for ways to reduce your spending where possible. Once you’ve set your final budget, keep a list of any gifts you need to purchase and commit to sticking to it as you shop.
3. Be cluey about credit – You might be tempted to use a credit card or a ‘buy-now pay-later’ service. However, that convenience can cost you dearly if you find yourself saddled with debt well into the new year. Cash is king (or queen)!
4. Be a deal hunter – research before you spend! Find the options that offer the best value for money before purchasing any gifts, so you can decide where is the best place to buy from.
5. Get social – If you follow your favourite brands and retailers on social media, you may be able to get exclusive discounts through their social channels. Their newsletters may also alert you to sales and special deals.
6. Master the art of gift hacking – Here are some ways you can show you care, while keeping a lid on your spending: Agree on a spending limit, kids only, Kris Kringle, DIY vouchers, second-hand bargains or homemade options.
7. Give to those less fortunate – Spread the cheer by giving to those who are doing it tough. Consider donating to a charity on someone else’s behalf and give this to them as a gift. As well as money, many charities also accept household items, clothes and groceries, or you could volunteer your time to help them out. Ensure you check what organisations are accepting as donations during COVID-19 restrictions.
8. Lighten your load when preparing lunch – Share the catering, buy only what you need, switch supermarkets, cash in any loyalty points and wrap up any leftovers to use over the coming days. If you’re in Victoria and restrictions are still tight on visitors, consider sharing dishes with your neighbours instead (contactless deliveries of course).
9. Save your sanity – Family time can be stressful for some. Be sure to add in time with your own, close friends and family who make the time special for you, while also taking time to rest yourself.
10. Plan for next year – Set up a payment plan for next year. This will spread the festive costs over 12 months and help relieve some of the financial pressure. Your future self will thank you!