Regardless of it happening at the same time every year, Christmas always seems to take us by surprise, don’t you think?
I know personally I’ve had years when I’ve spent way more than I had planned, and if I’m honest with myself on how that happened, it was always because I left it all until the last minute.
So to help plan ahead and get a few tips on preparing for Christmas early, I spoke with none other than the Queen of budgeting, Kylie Travers from The Thrify Issue who has some fantastic tips for planning ahead and making this your cheapest Christmas yet!
Travelling during school holidays can get expensive, but with a little planning there are a few ways you can avoid paying top dollar. Kylie suggests planning early and doing your research to find the best price on flights and accommodation. Kylie suggests doing your price research on smaller sites like Skiplagged and Momondo to help you find the best prices on flights, hotels and even car hire.
Be sure to clear your cache or go incognito when doing your research to avoid the cookies remembering your previous searches.
Not great at saving? Check out Layaway Travel to layby your next holiday.
Alternatively, I loved Kylie’s suggestion to house (and car) swap with friends from out of town, or use a website like Aussie House Sitters to source accommodation in an area of interest and essentially ‘look after’ their property whilst they’re on holidays too.
A couple of years ago we implemented the 5 present rule in our house for a number of reasons, not just to save money. So each year the kids know that on their wish list they can ask for:
Kylie also suggested to use a similar formula for stockings if you use them to avoid any arguments, particularly if you share Christmas morning with family or friends!
Another great tip Kylie had was to buy gifts throughout the year when you see them on sale. This can also apply to birthdays, but just remember to keep track of what you have bought so you don’t go overboard.
The thought of six weeks of the kids being at home can be a little daunting, so budgeting for care if you work and entertainment is worth putting a little time and planning into.
If you do work, Kylie suggests teaming up with some other families and organising child care swap days where you each take in turn having the kids for a day to accommodate work schedules. The kids will be happy as they’ll have friends to play with, and you’ll save a lot of money from not using school holiday programs.
Check for local free events happening in your area (or subscribe to Bubbler for your free school holiday activity guide). Many attractions and live events have discounts available for multiple children, so do your research before booking tickets, and be sure to check out our offers on school holiday programs in your area as you can often save up to 50% on some activities.
Kylie and I both agreed on letting the kids be bored for a change, letting them learn to entertain themselves. With the weather starting to fine up, get them outside in the backyard and let them make their own fun! Kylie suggested starting a collection of craft supplies, toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes and planning a few craft days too. You’ll be surprised at how much the kids might enjoy helping out around the house too.
Kylie confessed to being lazy when it comes to Christmas lunch, preferring to do the dishes than spend hours shopping and cooking for a meal that gets engulfed in minutes! I have to say, although I do enjoy getting in the kitchen, I see her point!
Kylie suggests sharing the workload (and cost) by asking your guests to each bring a dish to share on the day, allocating something to everyone so you don’t end up with five bowls of potato salad! And not to feel the pressure of having a banquet straight out of the pages of Delicious.
Thank you so much for these great tips Kylie!
What was your biggest ‘ah-ha’ tip you picked up?
If you’d like to take Kylie’s 21 Day Money Challenge and get your finances in order or find some great ways you can make some extra money before Christmas, visit her website at www.thethriftyissue.com.au