Christmas is an expensive time of year and according to research done by Mastercard, 51% of New Zealanders feel financial stress over the Christmas holiday period due to gift shopping. Add food, decorations, travel and parties to that and it’s very easy to blow your budget. So instead of building up debt (and stress) before the New Year has started, try to set aside some extra cash between now and then. Here are seven easy ideas to get you started:
Pack your own lunch
With the average takeaway lunch costing between $8 – $15 (depending whether you include a drink) you can easily cut your lunch bill by 50% making your own.
Potential saving by Christmas: $260
Brew your own coffee
According to the government’s Statistics Department, the average takeaway coffee costs around $4 per cup, so you could potentially save yourself $200 by Christmas, by brewing your own coffee during the week. Why not treat yourself to one café coffee on the weekend when you have the time to enjoy it.
Potential saving by Christmas: $200
Sell your old stuff
It’s a great time of year to do a clean out and inventory of your clothes, home-wares and jewellery. Everything you don’t use sort through and either sell in a garage sale or online through ebay or Gumtree. Recently I made $375 selling things I didn’t even remember I had.
You might even find something of value lying around the house that can net you enough to use for your Christmas gift shopping.
Potential saving by Christmas: $375
Make your own cleaning products
You can spend anywhere from $3 – $8 on an all-purpose cleaner depending on the brand. If you go through one a month that’s up to $16 you’ll spend by Christmas.
Making your own will save you almost 90%. Just buy a bottle of white vinegar (around $1.20 for 2 litres) and mix it with water in a spray bottle – an instant all-purpose cleaner. Read more about vinegar’s cleaning powers here.
Potential savings by Christmas: $14
Save on Groceries
Groceries are one of our biggest weekly expenses and according to Statistics New Zealand, the average household spends $192 per week on food and drink (not including alcohol). Try these tips and aim to save at least $20 per week.
Potential savings by Christmas: $200
Stop buying bottled water
Buying bottled water is a waste of money. Get organised and always pack a reusable bottle of water with you wherever you go. If you usually buy five bottles a week at $1-$2 you could save $5 – $10 per week.
Potential saving by Christmas: $100
Christmas is a wonderful time to enjoy being with your family and friends and to celebrate the end of another year. So enjoy the festive season and start the New Year without financial strain by saving where you can and spending within your means. It will put you in a great position to get started with your financial goals for 2015!