...you’d better not pout, I'm telling you why.
Ok, you’d be forgiven if you did start pouting. The Christmas and New Year holiday season is fast on its way and as the warmer weather sets in the social activities kick into overdrive.
From years gone by, I know that once the sun starts shining all the children’s birthday party invitations come thick and fast; coupled with invitations for pre-holiday gatherings with my dearest friends and family members, not to mention the work social activities, it’s no wonder it is called the silly season! With all these wonderful events and festivities to attend, it’s no surprise that expenses can hit the hip pocket hard.
But it doesn’t need to. We’ve all heard that homemade gifts are the best, but there are other ways to spread happiness and spend time with your loved ones – even while considering your budget.
There is no doubt the holidays are a time of giving, sharing and spending time with the ones you love. Visiting family and friends to spread the holiday cheer is a favourite in the lead up to the holidays.
To continue to spread that cheer how about these budget-friendly ideas?
Bring a plate night
This is as easy as it sounds. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering at your house, how about suggesting everyone brings a plate to share? If you have a large number of people to cater for, this obviously saves on prepping time and catering costs. Most people are happy to bring a plate to share, as it gives them a chance to contribute to the holiday cheer and sample other people’s cooking. If you’re worried about not having a diversity of foods, suggest that the attendees with names starting from A to K bring a savoury dish and people with names starting from L to Z bring a sweet plate.
Online group coupon websites
Hotels and restaurants want your patronage and often post deals and specials on group discount websites. Why not take advantage of these and suggest your friends join you at the discounted venue… they save and so do you!
Split the bill and beverages at restaurants
Speaking about friends at venues, it’s always a tricky situation when it comes to splitting the bill at the end of the evening. Some venues say they don’t allow bill splitting (shock horror!).
Now that the LLL has Faster Payments, you could offer to cover the cost of the entire restaurant tab and ask your friends to pay you straight away using your PayID. That way you’ll get your payment in real time and you’ll be able to keep your friends accountable for the cost of their portion of the meal. Then you’ll all be able to order the most or least expensive item on the menu depending on how it fits into the budget. For more information visit www.lll.org.au/NPP
Also, so that you are sticking to your budget, pay for drinks at the bar or individually with the waiter. Drinks that get added to a food tab at a restaurant can get confusing. Try paying for your drinks in cash, that way you can see how much money you have left to spend - or not.
Attend organised events – Carols, family events, movie nights
Not all holiday activities need to based around a planned meal. How about pulling up a picnic rug (or two) and attend one of the myriad of free activities at are available at this time of the year, like Christmas Carol nights, free family movie nights, Nativity shows and street markets.
Or if crowds aren’t on your wish list, how about heading to the park, beach or community reserve? All you need is a cheese board, a few crackers and your evening is set. Or, for indoor activities, how about catch-up over coffee or even a games night.
Visit www.moneysmart.gov.au and watch their quirky video on holiday savings tips.
Phew! Hopefully you will survive the pre-holiday lead-in with all the socialising and fanfare, but what’s next? How can you prepare and save money for Christmas day? Part two to be published soon.
This advice is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation, needs or objectives. Please consider the Disclosure Documents (available in branch or on the LLL website) to decide if this product is right for you.