finance

'I'm spending $3150 this year': 6 women share exactly how much Christmas costs them.

MyBudget
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Santa gets a lot of credit each year for bringing in the Christmas cheer, but he’s not exactly footing the bill for the festivities.

The holidays can really burn a hole in your wallet, and everyone has their own way of budgeting and choosing how to spend their cash.

Tammy Barton, founder of personal budgeting service MyBudget, says it’s one of the most stressful times of the year to be running a household.

“As well as being blasted by Christmas costs, families with kids may need to budget for school holiday care and the extra costs associated with keeping the kids busy over the break,” Tammy says.

“It’s amazing how much more people save when they have a budget.”

So with that in mind, let’s take a sneaky look at what six women spend each Christmas. After that we’ve got a few practical tips to share if your Christmas is looking more blow-out than budget-friendly.

Jac, 37, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Approximate Christmas cost: $3150

My family are spread across Australia (with a few in New Zealand) so for the last few years we’ve all been spending the holidays on the Sunshine Coast together but all getting our own Airbnbs. The cost for ours this year is $1800.

For presents this year, for our kids, our nieces and nephews, my parents and my husband’s mother we’ve budgeted around $1000. We don’t do presents for all the adults in the family but I like to make sure the kids and grandparents all have something nice on the day. We’re getting a catering service to bring food in on the day and they charge by person so for our family that’s around $300 to $400.

Suzanne, 61, Townsville, Qld

Approximate Christmas cost: $600

Christmas will look a little bit different this year because it’s the first year my husband and I are not hosting it in our home. My daughter will be having it in her new house so I don’t have to think about shopping and cooking for the entire family. This year I am doing the desserts, which is pavlova for the adults and “fun ice-cream” (which is what we call ice-cream you can put dozens of different toppings on) for the kids. I’ve budgeted about $100 for that once I buy all the ingredients, but it can sometimes be a little more because the fruit is so expensive.

My husband and I only spend around $50 on each other for gifts, but for my daughters and their husbands, we buy them a joint gift each for $250. We have five grandchildren and we spend between $60-$80 on each of them and because I don’t want my daughter to spend too much I will also give her an extra $100 on the side to help pay for the alcohol. That’s a very expensive part of the day.

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Katherine, 42, Adelaide, SA

Approximate Christmas cost: $580

I always visit the big mid-year toy sales at the department stores in town and put all of the kids’ Christmas presents on lay-by for Christmas. We have four kids and I usually spend about $100 or so on each of them, when they’re young they only need lots of little things so it’s not as expensive. Our eldest is 12 this year and the items on his wish list are getting a little bit more expensive, so we’ve gone a little over budget there. I pay a little off the lay-by each month, we live on a strict budget but even paying $50 a month makes Christmas much easier.

We’ve had the same Christmas tree since our oldest son was a toddler so it’s a little old now but it still looks nice when we put the decorations on. I don’t like to buy a lot of decorations but this year the kids and I are making some of the house decorations ourselves. I work at a school so was able to bring some supplies home with me and then spent about $30 buying a few extra bits and pieces.

Christmas lunch is just the six of us and it’s usually a roast – the kids all like that and it’s a simple meal to prepare, so I’ll budget under $100 for everything. We don’t drink but I do buy soft drinks and special dessert for Christmas Day.

"This year the kids and I are making some of the house decorations ourselves." Source: Getty.

Eliza, 28, Sydney, NSW

Approximate Christmas cost: $750

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I have to factor in travel costs into my Christmas expenses because I have to book plane tickets to get to my parent's house. It's looking like that is all going to cost around $550 altogether (I'm sure if I'd booked earlier I would have gotten cheaper deals, thank goodness for Afterpay).

It's just my parents and I for Christmas and I usually spend around $50 on each of them. I also bring home a bottle of rum and a Christmas cake for them as an extra holiday gift I give them on the day I arrive, and save their actual presents for Christmas Day.

Jasmine, 31, Brisbane, Qld

Approximate Christmas cost: $1925

My partner and I are having friends over for Christmas Day, and we've offered to do the spread. I've already ordered some nice wine for the day ($500) and we'll be doing some seafood and cheese platters along with the main course ($400-$500 depending on seafood costs). We like to go all out on the entertaining.

We're then doing a separate Christmas with my partner's dad, his step-mum and his grandma on Boxing Day as a second Christmas, but we're going to drive down the coast and take them to a nice lunch (I can't do two full days of hosting).  We're going to a nice place with a set menu and it's $125 per person. We'll get his parents a gift ($100) and his grandma one too (also around $100).

Marg, 49, Melbourne, Victoria

Approximate Christmas cost: $1750

I have three kids and I spend around $300 to $350 on their gifts, some presents I buy in advance and I also use Afterpay just to get through the holidays. I am cooking lunch for us and some of our extended family on the day and will spend around $500, the meats can be expensive but my mum is bringing the desserts.

We've also brought some new Christmas lights for the house that was close to $200, we've done the whole front of the house and the front yard because our whole street gets in the spirit.

Top 3 budgeting tips for Christmas

Now we've looked at some real-life examples of the financial load we bear around Christmastime, what about some practical tips?

Tammy Barton from MyBudget helps people every day with meeting their short and long-term financial goals. Here are some of her best tips for being financially prepared for Christmas and the aftermath:

  1. BOOK EARLY: If you're travelling for Christmas, you need to get in early. D-Day is approaching for booking flights, buses, hire cars or hotels—the longer you leave it, the more you’ll pay. Boarding kennels will also be filling up fast. If you have multiple animals, it might be more affordable (even free) to get a house sitter.

  2. GET YOUR FOOD BUDGET SORTED: Now is the time to start setting aside extra money for your Christmas food budget. You can also begin collecting frozen, canned and non-perishable items. Even better, save money and stress by asking people to bring a dish to share on Christmas Day. Don’t forget to budget for extra socialising and entertainment costs — work functions, New Year’s Eve parties, dinners, drinking and everything else that goes with being merry. You may also need to allow for taxi fares.

  3. DON'T OVER-SPEND ON GIFTS: Write your gift list now and allocate a dollar amount to each person. Is the list affordable? Don’t be afraid to make adjustments or get creative with homemade Christmas gifts that people will actually use. How about splitting the price of a gift between family members? Have you tried Secret Santa? Some families just buy for their kids. Remember to budget for wrapping paper, cards, postage, decorations and, if you have kids, batteries.

     

Want more tips about budgeting so you can enjoy the best moments of the year without stress or worry? Visit MyBudget to see how they can help with your personal budgets.

How much do you and your family spend at Christmas? 

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No matter what your goal is—to save money, tackle debt, stop living week-to-week, sort out your finances or simply free up time—MyBudget is here to help. Visit mybudget.com.au to find out more

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