Today I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Cannata. I connected with Sarah in an Australian Blogging group and she offered to write a piece which may help people budget over the very expensive Christmas period. I can already see myself spending way too much over the holidays so I’m very grateful to Sarah for coming up with these great tips.
Sarah Cannata is the Communications Manager at HelpMeChoose.com.au, one of Australia’s leading insurance, energy and home loan comparison services. As Communications Manager, Sarah plays an integral role in making people aware of the many insurance pricing and coverage options available to them for free thanks to HelpMeChoose.com.au. You can read these handy hints and tips on the Help Me Choose blog. Sarah has written for Australia’s Leading Sell Your Own Home website, Leader Newspapers, The Age, The Big Issue and representatives of City Councils in Melbourne.
Ditch the debt this Christmas
While your kids may be ecstatic that it’s almost time for that red, chubby little fella to pay us a visit again (I’m talking about Santa), you might not be as thrilled. Why?
Sure, Christmas is a time for feasting, drinking, spending time with your friends and family… it’s also a time when you might find that money is going out faster than it’s coming in. After all, gifts, delicious food as well as drink and entertaining the kiddies over the school holiday season, doesn’t come cheap.
But before you summon your inner Gordon Ramsay (we know he’s in there), follow these 5 simple tips and you’ll keep your finances well on-track over the Christmas period – and without other people calling you Scrooge.
#1: Ditch dining and embrace picnicking
Even the cheapest of eating-out experiences aren’t all that cheap once you add up the cost of the food, the drinks and any desserts.
Instead, embrace that Martha Stewart that’s been hiding in you, and start making sandwiches with different fillings. Bake some treats for the kids and you’re set. Now, if you’re anything like me (a disaster in the kitchen), cheese, crackers and dip will also do. Just cut up some carrot and celery sticks and you’re good to go.
Think about it: while eating out may last an hour max, going on a picnic will last hours because after they’ve eaten, the kids will want to play (and hopefully, wear themselves out so that you get a great night’s sleep).
#2: Movie night in
If you’ve been to the cinemas lately, you’ll know just how pricey buying tickets for the entire family and a trip to the Candy Bar can be. Gone are the days when a trip to the movies was cheap entertainment.
Instead, grab those movie munchies from the supermarket and rent a heap of flicks from your local library or video store. This makes for a whole night’s entertainment and is far friendlier on your hip pocket.
#3: Get moving!
Look, it’s not always easy to feel like going for a bike ride or a walk after you’ve been up all night with the kids or you’ve been working all day. But a family bike ride or walk, isn’t just healthier: it’ll get you and your kids interacting.
You’d be surprised at how moving away from the TV and all of those distractions (the computer, the PlayStation, the Nintendo, the XBOX… you get the idea), allows you to work on building a relationship with your kids that you’ll saviour in the years to come.
#4: Get creative
We all want to be loved but sometimes, our need to be loved sees many of us raking up thousands of dollars in expensive Christmas presents.
I know, you can’t give her a gift and not him… you have to give them something of equal value… it’s a dicey game. This year, give yourself enough time and get creative. Why not make up hampers or maybe make or write something for that special someone.
If you’re handy in the kitchen, you can:
- Bake people biscuits.
- Preserve lemons.
- Make slices.
- Whip up a batch of delicious homemade brew (homemade Baileys or something along those lines).
You’d be surprised at how many people would appreciate that personal touch.
#5. No means NO
Kids will be kids which means that they’ll nag you to buy them things. That new game… that new pair of shoes… just one more packet of football cards. You’d be surprised at how quickly all of these treats add up.
Stick to your guns, block your ears (we know how persistent kids can be. Remember, we were too at some point) and more sure no means NO.
Got some great money saving tips of your own ahead of Christmas?
I’d love to hear them: remember, sharing is caring.