Q: Christmas is at our house this year and I am a little worried about the cost of hosting the family festivities. Any tips to help minimise our expenses? Michelle – Subiaco
A: According to ASIC’s Moneysmart website, Australians spent an average of $955 last Christmas and accumulated an average credit card debt of $1,666. And if you are hosting a large family gathering, chances are you will feel obliged to spend even more than that. To avoid overspending, start with a clear budget that you either have saved or can afford to repay quickly. Almost 20% of Australians took more than six months to pay off their Christmas credit card debt last year – which means six months of interest on top of the initial costs! Time is short, but try to get gift shopping done before that last minute rush. Look for bargains or discuss a way to limit gift costs; perhaps only the kids receive gifts, or a secret Santa where each person gives – and receives – one gift, rather than trying to buy for everyone. If your extended family takes turns hosting Christmas, it might be worth suggesting a shared contribution to the meal. Asking for cash can get a bit awkward, but requesting items for the menu allows you to ask individuals to prepare their ‘favourite recipe that everyone just loves!’ It eases the burden while providing a potential ego boost to those budding chefs in the family. It also reduces the workload on the day as you only need to prepare a fraction of the usual amount of food. And if you can convince everyone that this should be a new family tradition, you can be sure that your relatives will be thankful when it’s their turn to host Christmas.
As published in The Western Suburbs Weekly