Get creative: five simple ways to cut the cost of Christmas
It's not yet December but go to Coles or Target and you will see Christmas food and decorations everywhere. Here's how you can save this Christmas.
1. Use cash not credit
Decide on an amount you want to spend on gifts and work out how much you need to put away between now and December.
Once you start shopping, stick to your budget. And remember, nobody really notices how much you spend on them. It really is the thought that counts.
2. Get creative - make it, bake it, create it
For affordable gifts with the personal touch, look online for creative gift ideas.
Bake biscuits or gingerbread with the kids and fill glass jars tied with ribbon, or create a photobook of memories through Big W or Vistaprint.
3. Avoid impulse buying
The best way to stick to your budget is to plan your purchases - don't be swayed by promotions or sale signs.
Consider shopping online for gifts, so you can shop around for the best deal and take your time with purchases.
4. Eat without breaking the budget
Make a list of the occasions that you might be hosting or attending and what sort of food you will need to provide. Set yourself a food budget, and buy food and drinks in advance if you can.
Most items will have a long shelf life so add an extra item or two to your shopping trolley over the next few months to spread out the cost.
If you're hosting the main family meal, don't be afraid to ask for help. Pick salads or desserts that will travel well and ask your guests to contribute those, along with their own drinks.
And don't forget to keep it simple. You don't need to buy gourmet products just because it's Christmas.
5. DIY your cards and gift-wrapping
Get creative and use what you have around the house before rushing out and stocking up on expensive wrapping paper. Opt for brown paper and string, handmade gift tags and cards, or hand-painted paper and cards from your kids.
Electronic greetings are a great and affordable way to say merry Christmas to friends and family far away. Film a video message and save on air mail costs.