5 tips to avoid overspending at Christmas

Piggybank with a santa hat on sitting in front of a christmas tree.

Celebrating Christmas can very easily lead to overspending and debt. With a bit of planning and following these tips, you can still have a wonderful time with friends and family without the post-holiday season financial worries.


Here are 5 tips to help you manage your Christmas spending.
  1. Set a budget. Speak to your family to set out how you wish to celebrate Christmas and how much you can afford to spend this year. Setting a budget ahead of time is the key to not overspending. Work out how much to spend on decorations/décor, gifts, and food and drinks.
  2. Create a meal plan for your Christmas lunch or dinner. The Christmas meal can be a big expense item. A meal plan that includes a menu and a budget will help you and your family have a delicious and affordable meal and avoid food waste. We all have a tendency to over-cater so think carefully about how much food you will really need. If you are sharing the costs and responsibilities for food purchases and preparation with other people, find a way to share your meal plan. This helps to make for a more successful celebration by reducing any misunderstandings about who is doing what.
  3. Don’t spend money every year on brand new decorations and décor. Before racing out to buy new decorations and décor, first consider the following:
    • Do you already have any decorations, décor and a Christmas tree and lights that can be reused or upcycled again this year to save some money?
    • Are you able to buy any secondhand items on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree? Can you encourage your children or grandchildren to get into the Christmas spirit and ask them to make some homemade decorations? This will add a lovely personal touch and save some dollars at the same time?
  4. Get creative when giving Christmas gifts. Speak to your family about a Christmas gift approach that is fun and thoughtful while still staying affordable. Here are some ideas to help you:
    • Set a gift value limit for everyone, e.g. $20 per person.
    • Set a limit on the number of gifts per person. Secret Santa is a great idea for both the big kids (adults) and the little kids in the family.  That way each person is in charge of buying one gift for one other person only.
    • Have everyone agree to only give homemade gifts this year.
  5. Start buying for Christmas well ahead of time. Planning well ahead of time for Christmas allows you to shop in advance and take advantage of any pre-Christmas sales or online deals. This can include items for your Christmas meal. Some items can be stored in your pantry or freezer until you need them. Just make sure to check the use-by date on the products you purchase. If you are catering for a large party for your Christmas meal, try wholesale supermarkets and supermarket brands like ‘No Frills’ which can be bought in bulk at a lower price.


How to speak with a financial counsellor?

Anglicare’s financial counsellors operate the National Debt Helpline in Tasmania. You can contact them by calling 1800 007 007.

To find out more about the financial counselling services we offer, click here.

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