How you can reduce the cost and make money with Christmas!
Christmas comes at the same time every year, yet it can still be an expense which kills the budget for many families. This year, instead of Christmas costing a fortune we are making money from it! We are still visiting both families which means travelling from Melbourne to Canberra, Bathurst and back to Melbourne. We are buying presents for kids, our parents, teachers etc and still doing all our Christmas traditions.
How To Reduce Christmas Expenses
Christmas doesn’t need to be expensive. I have posted about ways to make $2,000 by Christmas, how to have an amazing, cheap and lazy Christmas as well as last-minute Christmas plans (the year we moved interstate a few days before Christmas).
Plan It Out
You’re probably sick of hearing the need for a plan! It’s repeated so often because it works. Even if your plan is to write out who you need to buy for, what you need to get and doing it all on Christmas Eve, it’s still a plan!
Keep your plan simple. Write down everything you need (or use an app to track it all). Who are you buying presents for? What do you want to buy them, what is your budget and where are you shopping? Are you doing any food? What recipes and ingredients do you need? Check wrapping paper, Christmas cards and any other supplies.
Secret Santa Or Kris Kringle
Where possible, opt to pick names out of a hat and everyone buy for one person. This can work well in groups such as workplaces, sports, cousins, adults in the family, groups of friends and so on. Instead of buying for everyone individually you are only buying a few gifts.
Shop In Sales
Sales are everywhere this time of year. Search online, use sites such as Groupon, Catch of the Day, Scoopon and similar to find deals. Install Cash Rewards so you get a pop up on every site you can get cash back from. Check where you can collect points for different reward programs and make the most of it all. Use our list of freebies/sign up bonuses and our other list of ways to get discounts on everything to help.
Check all reward programs such as FlyBuys, Everyday Rewards or any listed here as well as online survey sites (such as Octopus Group, Swagbucks or the rest we have listed here). Consider cashing in points to use over the holidays.
If you want to get prepped for next year, buy wrapping paper, gift bags, Christmas cards, decorations and anything else in the sales after Christmas. Store them with your Christmas tree or in a spot dedicated to gifts/wrapping etc. I have paid as little as 1cent for items after Christmas.
Food, Glorious Food!
Instead of one person catering for everything, have everyone bring something and celebrate with a big potluck buffet! Alternatively, if you haven’t tried HelloFresh, use this link for $50 off (the code is KYLTRAV) and get the Christmas box to help with catering.
Years ago I went in on Christmas Eve, not long before the stores closed and bought all the items reduced to clear. Because the shops are closed on Christmas Day, many stores have deli items, dairy, fridge, meat and fresh produce they need to clear out. I used to get some amazing bargains, most either had a decent use by date or I could freeze them and save money over the coming months. Some were used for Christmas Day too.
Save On Travel
I don’t own a car. When I looked at renting a car it was affordable. The following week it had tripled in price. I asked someone I trust if I can use their car and pay them instead, as it’s a win-win for both of us. I have been added to the insurance, the money helped pay for a service on their car so they are happy too.
For transport, borrow a car, try Uber – free ride with the code kyliet591ue or Car Next Door ($15 off with this link) if you aren’t travelling far and compare prices to see which option is best for you.
For accommodation, stay with friends and family, consider Couchsurfing, house sitting, Airbnb or pet sitting to save money.
How To Make Christmas Pay For Itself
Christmas is a wonderful time of year for connecting with family, helping others, reviewing the year and taking a break. Instead of it being an expense, here are some ways to make it pay for itself.
Rent Out Your House
As mentioned, we are travelling this year. For a few of the days we are gone our place is rented out. We are making nearly 2 weeks worth of rent in 3 days which will more than cover our travel and Christmas related expenses. We rented ours on Airbnb and have always found it to be really good.
Make seasonal money
One year my step mum foraged blackberries and sold amazing pies, slices and other treats at the market. She was sold out within 2 hours every week and highly in demand. She did it simply for Christmas and made some good money.
Others I know put up Christmas trees and decorations or sell Christmas themed things online during November and December.
Offer your services for cleaning, ironing, mowing lawns, prepping homes for bushfires and storms (e.g. cleaning out gutters, clearing debris from around homes etc.) Services like this are in high demand this time of year. Check regulations in your area before you offer the services. You can look for jobs through Facebook, Gumtree, Airtasker or simply let friends and family know what you are offering.
Get Practical With Gifts
Don’t be shy about asking for what you want when someone asks. Write a list of things from cheaper items through to more expensive which would save you time or money and benefit you long-term.
Some examples might be apps (or an iTunes gift card), specific books e.g. ones I have listed here, slow cooker, food processor, spiraliser, gift certificate for the salon you use, appliances (I asked for an iron one year from my parents, after my divorce. I was so excited they got me an amazing one!) or you might like family passes to the museum and other attractions near you. Know what you want so you can ask for it.
Make It Yours!
We love Christmas and each year we have some family traditions which make it special without costing a fortune.
– See Christmas lights. We walk around areas known for amazing Christmas displays.
– Decorate our home. The Christmas tree goes up, along with any other decorations.
– Choose a Christmas ornament. Each year my daughters select a Christmas ornament, usually from Myer or a speciality Christmas store. They look forward to it every year.
– Advent calendar. Growing up we had one mum made with pockets. Each year we spent an evening writing out notes for the pockets and putting lollies in the pockets, one for each family member each day. The notes were tasks to do that day such as smile at 3 people, sing a Christmas song, make cookies, help someone else, donate something etc. Basically, something to get us into the spirit of Christmas and help others.
– Christmas baking. My kids love making Christmas cookies, slices and other treats this time of year.
– See the Myer display. This has only been for the last 2 years since we moved at the end of 2015. They’re excited to go see it this year again.
Pick some Christmas traditions and start doing them every year as something to look forward to and bring your family closer.