8 weeks to go: 8 ways to spend less at Christmas

Published on October 26, 2015 10:44 am, by

When it comes to Christmas I’ve found the closer I wait to Christmas to get ready, the more I spend.  Here’s 8 things you can work on now, that might save you a post-Christmas money hangover.

Gifts –

The thing about buying gifts is that when the thought of hitting the shops and/or spending the money stresses you out, it no longer feels about love and fun.  It’s hard work.  2 months out from Christmas is a good time to think about who, why and what.

  • Cull your gift list –Think about who you want to buy for and why. There’s lots of reasons people stay on our list year after year.  Love, fun, obligation or because it’s always been that way.  If you’re thinking about money, they might be too – is there anybody you can say to “let’s not buy gifts this year” or “let’s hang out in January for a drink instead”?
  • Make the switch to Secret Santa – Some families, offices, friendship groups have a lot of fun with this one. Everyone chooses a name out of a hat and a dollar limit is set, then it’s up to you whether there are other boundaries.  Some I’ve seen include “make it yourself”, “pure fun”, “embarrassing”.  Alternatively everyone buys a generic gift and puts it under a tree, then after everyone has an order they get to select a gift.  It can be selected from under the tree, or they can steal somebody else’s if it looks good.
  • Give the gift of time – there is nothing a parent will appreciate more than a voucher for 4 hours babysitting. Other ideas are a gardening service for a relative, half a day’s labour for a mate who’s renovating/painting their house, or a promise to paint the nails of an 8 year old girl.
  • Research – write a list of who you are buying for with ideas. Get online and look at prices.  If you see a bargain, snag it and put it away.  I found an awesome apron on E-bay the other day that has a 3 day delivery time with a great slogan and best of all it was under $15.  It would have cost me more in time and $$ to hit the shops.


Most people like to eat well at Christmas, whether this is quality and/or quantity.  Whether you’re the host or the guest, it’s a good time to think about what will be on the table, stock up on ingredients and what people can contribute.

  • Preparation for the host – Getting a menu plan ready now will take the stress out of it just before Christmas. It also allows you to be prepared if any of your guests offer to bring a dish or a course.  I recommend taking them up on it!  Another year you can return the favour.  Once you know what you are planning you can stock up on the non-fresh ingredients when you see them discounted or at a good price.
  • Food preparation for the guests – Now’s a good time to get in touch with the host and see what you can bring. You might have a favourite Christmas dish that you’d like to contribute!


If you’re anything like me you’ll like a nice bottle of champagne at Christmas.

  • All the bottle shops are going crazy at the moment with trying to beat each other. I saw some very nice French champagnes at a great price this week and I had an email offer of free delivery if you spend over $100 at Dan Murphy’s.  Check it out, and stash some bottles at the back of your cupboard to pop in the fridge in the days before Christmas.
  • Other drinking ideas – punch, soft drinks, ciders. Spend some time looking at recipes online and what ingredients you might need.  With 8 weeks to go there is plenty of time to space out your purchases or find a bargain.

And one final tip (let’s call it tip number 9) from the males in the office.  Re-gift!  But don’t give the present back to the person who gave it to you last year.  I’m told it’s best to be subtle about these things….!

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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