Money

Why You Should Start Financially Preparing For Christmas Now

It’s September. The days are getting longer, the weather is growing hotter, and Christmas merchandise is beginning to pop up in stores across Australia. Like many, you’re probably rolling your eyes at this — Christmas decorations seem to be appearing earlier with each passing year.

But, the thing is, you could actually be saving a fair whack of cash by buying into the Christmas hype early this year. By planning your flights, buying presents and not waiting until the last minute to make a move on prepping for the festive season, your wallet and your sanity might just thank you.

Comparison website Mozo found that more than one third of Australians have added to their credit card debt, or dipped into their savings to be able to afford Christmas.

Get started early this year, as per our guide, and you may find yourself with enough post-Christmas cash to be able to afford another present for yourself!

Flights

When to book: Late August, mid September, early October

Research recently released by Skyscanner Australia identified the best weeks for Aussies to bag deals on flights for the silly season. They found that, whether you’re flying domestic back to your folks’ house for the festivities, or heading on an overseas jaunt in LA, Fiji or Bali, it pays to book in advance.

By booking your flights in late August, mid September and early October, you can save up to 37% on fares. If you’ve left your booking to the last minute, you could be looking at paying up to 102% more come December. In general, ticket prices tend to rise ever-higher the later you leave booking.

While the odd deal might pop up, it’s safest to purchase your fare around 14 weeks before you depart. It’s a popular time of year, and seats fill up quickly, meaning airlines can jack up the prices — it’s best to get cracking sooner rather than later!

Gifts

When to buy: October

As much as you swear each year that you’ll get your gift-buying duties over with early, when it comes down to it, you’re likely to still be pushing through crowds on Christmas Eve to get mum a bottle of cheap perfume because you’ve run out of money, time and ideas.

Save your sanity and also your dollars by staggering your Christmas shopping throughout the year. Super prepared, and in possession of a set of sharp elbows? Why not hit up the Boxing Day sales immediately after Christmas this year, and save a motza on your gifts for next year? If you’ve not started yet this year, it’s a good idea to get going ASAP.

Begin buying gifts around October. You’ll be able to afford presents that are better, and much more thoughtful. You’ll have a few months to find the perfect gift, and won’t be spending a huge lump of money at the one time, leaving you destitute until after you return to work in the new year.

If you’re super prepared, why not begin heading to sales throughout the year? You could even lay-buy gifts, if the idea of parting with large sums of money all at once makes you shudder.

If you’re shopping online, it means that you have ample time to find a gift, have it shipped (without paying express post delivery fees), and exchange it if it’s not quite what you were looking for. Prices are often lower online as well, meaning you can save money on what you’d be forking our for on the high street or in a shopping mall.

Food

When to buy: As soon as it starts appearing in stores

Hosting Christmas at your house this year? It’s pretty much a given that you’ll be spending a pretty penny on feeding everyone — and it’s not Christmas without alcohol, and other must-haves like Christmas crackers and festive tablecloths.

Rather than spend a huge chunk of money a couple of days before your guests arrive, plan in advance. You know those Christmas foods that start popping up around this time of year in the supermarket? Most of those are made to last a long time.

Every week when you go shopping pick up one Christmas-related foodstuff — we’re talking mince pies, Christmas puddings, fruitcakes, and chocolate-covered nuts and sultanas that are seen in bowls across Australia come December. It’ll barely make a dent in your weekly shop, but it will definitely save you having to drop a whole pay cheque’s worth of money in the future, which is unequivocally more painful!

The moral? Don’t jump on the ‘Christmas has become a capitalist’s dream thanks to merch dropping in stores in September’ bandwagon. Instead, take it as a cue to get planning, and hopefully save some cash.


Che-Marie is a London-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Australian Gourmet Traveller, Collective Hub and Virgin Australia Voyeur among others. Follow her travels on Instagram @chemariet

Want to start saving?

Open a Westpac savings account to take control of your money.

Find Out More