The weather’s warming up, the days are getting longer and spring is in full swing, which means that Summer and ‘silly season’ is just around the corner.
For many, this is the time of year to really relax and take it easy. But for others, the holiday season can be a significant source of financial stress as the cost of long lunches, holidays and Christmas presents all add up.
To help you enjoy the Summer without blowing your budget, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to spending smart this silly season.
1. Set a savings goal and a budget
Last year, Australians spent $17.3 billion on Christmas an average of around $893 per adult1 — mostly on gifts and travel.
This year, why not plan and save in advance to make the holiday spending more manageable?
- To start, think about your commitments and obligations over the holiday period, then put a dollar figure next to each. Doing so can be a good way to understand what you actually spend over this period. If you’re not used to budgeting, it can be quite eye-opening!
- Then, look for opportunities to reduce the total figure to a number that you are comfortable with.
- Next, create a budget that enables you to save your target amount by the holidays. A good way to do this may be to divide the goal amount by the number of paydays until Christmas. The number that comes out is the amount you need to save each payday. If you need a hand creating a budget, try using our Budget Planner Calculator.
2. Consider putting holiday savings aside
If you leave your holiday savings in your transaction account, it can be much easier to spend on impulse. To make sure you keep your savings for when they’re needed, consider opening a savings account and using it for your holiday money.
3. Automate your savings
To make saving as easy as possible, try automating it. To do this, simply take the amount you need to save each payday and arrange for it to automatically transfer to your savings account just after you are paid. Automatic transfers are easy to set up using the Qudos Bank Online Banking portal.
Building a good ‘save first’ habit can be a great way to consistently build your savings and, once you’ve adjusted, you may not even miss the extra cash you put away each month.
4. Start your Christmas shopping early
We’ve all experienced the last-minute Christmas shopping rush — picking up whatever we can find, even if it’s over-priced.
To avoid this, it’s a good idea to start Christmas shopping as early as possible — it’ not too late to start now!
Planning ahead allows you to take more time to choose gifts that may be more meaningful to your friends and family. An inexpensive, but thoughtful, present can often be more appreciated than an expensive gift that the recipient doesn’t really need.
5. Make sure your gifts arrive on time
Shopping early is important for another reason. COVID restrictions have resulted in significant delays to international and interstate shipping, which means that gifts posted last-minute may not reach their destinations in time.
If you’re posting gifts, shop and ship as far in advance as possible — especially if you are shipping overseas. It can be a good idea to check retailer’s expected delivery times and add at least a few days just to be sure.
If you’re shopping last minute, look for retailers that guarantee shipping before Christmas if the purchase is made before a stated cut-off date.
Lastly, it can be a good idea to buy from retailers close to the recipient, rather than buying locally and posting. If you have friends and family overseas, buying from a retailer close to them can reduce the shipping time and be less expensive too. This could also be a good opportunity to support small businesses in that location.
6. Shop safely online
Australians reported losses of over $22 million to scams in December 20202 — nearly $4 million more than in any other month.
- To make sure you stay safe when Christmas shopping online:
- Always use websites you know when making a purchase.
- Look for HTTPS in the website URL rather than just HTTP. The letter “s” signifies that you are accessing a secured address. Share as little personal information as you can. Avoid sharing credit card details over the phone or via email.
- Never share your Card PIN or Online Banking password with anyone.
- Create strong passwords for all websites, especially online shopping sites and Online Banking. We strongly advise to NOT use the same password across several accounts nor use recycled or variations of old passwords.
- If you paid for goods with a credit card and have not received them, contact your bank immediately as you may be eligible for a chargeback.
- If something has gone wrong with an online retailer, following the ‘lodge a consumer complaint’ process on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.
For more information on staying safe online, visit the Qudos Bank fraud hub.
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
Before opening an account with us, you should read our Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services and Financial Services Guide.