It’s said that Australians spend on average $8.8 billion at Christmas time on a mixture of gifts, food, alcohol and Christmas day preparations. That’s one jolly old sum of money.
It’s also a time of year that sees unbridled spending, often leaving many households feeling the pinch at the start of the new year. No one wants to have a tight Christmas, leading even the most stringent budgeters spending more than they normally would.
With this over spending, comes a lot of wastage. Food that gets thrown out, presents that end up hidden under the couch, waistlines that start to rival jolly old Saint Nick himself.
So if you have spent a little too much this year, here are some ways to avoid post-Christmas wastage and save money. Don’t forget to combine these tips with our article on ways to save money in the New Year.
Christmas cards, wrapping paper and ribbon
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Our household often buys a metric tonne of Christmas cards (boxes of 50) and numerous rolls of wrapping paper. Once Christmas comes and goes, the cards and wrapping paper often sit inside a cupboard gathering dust, getting the edges worn and occasionally been used as a sword by our toddler who tries to attack the Christmas tree.
Properly organise and store your leftover Christmas cards and wrapping paper. Take the time to consolidate any unused Christmas cards into a shoebox, ready for the following year. While doing this, organise your leftover wrapping paper; roll them back up and use sticky tape to stop them unravelling and store inside a sturdy cardboard poster tube (these cost only $5 from Officeworks).
A few minutes of organisation directly after Christmas will help ensure that your leftover cards and wrapping paper will see the light of day the following Christmas without been lost, damaged or used as a sword by your toddler.
Pro money saving tip: wrapping paper and Christmas cards go on sale immediately after Christmas. If you don’t have any, buy them for the year ahead in the January sales (as retailers are trying to clear stock rapidly).
We seem to have an inordinate amount of leftover food after Christmas. Barely touched legs of hams, potato salad by the bucket load and roast vegetables that slowly disintegrate and evolve into unrecognisable lumps in the fridge. Given food accounts for a large portion of any households Christmas budget, avoiding wastage of this food is the easiest way to save money at Christmas time.
Don’t do any grocery shopping for a week after Christmas. Focus on eating only leftovers. Prepare large items like Christmas hams by cutting a large amount of slices off into a bowl, easily accessible by even the most lazy person in the household.
Glad wrap everything properly to avoid wastage and regularly focus on chipping away at the glorious amount of leftover Christmas food. While I’m not going to go into “Christmas Leftover Recipes” – having lots of ham, potato salad and vegetables can easily be converted into sandwiches, cold lunch plates and for those a little more game; bubble and squeak (aka where you get so tired you just amalgamate everything into a patty and fry it).
Leftover alcohol and nibbles
If you’ve recently hosted Christmas, you probably have a plethora of leftover bottles of white wine, red wine, Uncle Joe’s dark ale beers (that no one else drinks) and Cousin Cheryl’s Bacardi cruisers. Alcohol is super expensive, so making the most of the leftover alcohol can save you money for the year ahead.
Don’t see the endless amount of wine, beer and spirits as a mountain to conquer in January. It’s often at odds with your desire to lose weight and also happens to be the most expensive component to many households Christmas festivities.
Instead, save the leftover alcohol and cashew nuts for when you have people over to your house in the year ahead.
Everyone is very generous at Christmas, especially when it comes to kids. Kids can often get more toys, whether cheap or expensive, than they know what to do with. For anyone with a three year old, you will already know that a 12 month old present, when hidden for 1 week, can often result in a ‘like new’ feeling when they child rediscovers it. Similarly for adults, we often get a huge array of gifts that are either what we truly want, or in some cases, not particularly to our taste.
Sell presents you truly don’t want or need, plan to re-gift presents that are good but not to your liking and for those with little kids – take some of the endless supply of gifts from family and store them high in your wardrobe ready for an extra birthday gift later on in the year.