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Give yourself a ‘free’ Christmas in 2024 | Savings with Sarah #12

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Easing your financial burden at Christmas time next year stars NOW.

Christmas is notoriously expensive, especially when we're not being tested with household bills so full-grown, we have to rename them Williams.

And with this money tip, it can make you feel like you're scoring all of your Christmas shopping, catering and presents for free.

Here's how it works: you set a budget for Christmas 2024.

Let's say you decide $1,000 would be enough to cover food and alcohol, gifts, decor and celebrating for you and yours to have a truly fun, adventurous and enjoyable festive season.

Divide that amount into weeks. If your goal is $1,000, then you need to save around $20 a week.

You could save that in a high interest savings account and score some extra money. But that comes with some risks, because saving money in an account is:

  • Tempting to withdraw and spend.
  • Tricky to stick to over a long period of time.
  • Not immune from you raiding the account in a few weeks or months into the new year, when an unexpected expense crops up.

So instead, here's my suggestion. Every week, when you do your grocery shop – buy a $20 Coles Myer or Woolworths group gift card. If your budget stretches a little further, every now and then you could mix it up with a $30 "Ultimate" gift card.

By the time Christmas 2024 rolls around, you're then going to have over $1,000 worth of gift cards.

That will more than cover most people's festive spending and you can use your gift cards to…

  • Pay for groceries for Christmas Day and the week around it.
  • Add it to a hamper with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates to give to someone as a Christmas gift.
  • Use the gift card to pay for presents.
  • Stock up on alcohol for the festive period.

Starting so early in the year to get ready for Christmas may seem ridiculous to some people. But this is an easy money hack that takes the stress out of the silly season – I think that being able to shop for Christmas without financial pressure is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Savings with Sarah

Each Monday, our money expert Sarah Megginson shares another tip to help you save more than you spend.
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