Easy Christmas Budget Tips

The silly season is an expensive time of year for families. Be kind to your budget with these easy Christmas budget tips.

Saving money on your shop to help your budget

When the silly season is well and truly upon us it means food, gifts, travel and more food!

Did you know, the average Australian spends a whopping $316 on food over the holiday season. That's over $5.8 billion in Australia each year!

The cost of your big Christmas meal can add up when you include ham, drinks, seafood, puddings and all the naughty extras such as sugar coated peanuts and cashews. That is an incredible amount of money! If you include the cost of presents, extra activities and travel to that, the cost of an average Aussie Christmas can go well beyond $1000.

To help you get the most out of your Christmas budget (and hopefully have a little bit left over to celebrate the New Year), we caught up with Jody Allen from the popular Stay at Home Mum blog for her top tips to save money this festive season.

Jody's tips for re-branding Christmas lunch

Christmas Ham

The Christmas Ham can be used in so many versatile ways, in fried rice, ham fritters, on the barbecue for breakfast in the morning. But did you know it also freezes really well? Provided it hasn't been pre-frozen, chop into slices and double wrap in plastic wrap or a clip seal bag and it will freeze for up to six months! Perfect for school lunches with some cheese and pickles!

Christmas Pudding or Cake

Most kids aren't huge fans of the Christmas cake – so if you have lots left over – you just need to re-brand it. Try crumbling some into a tall glass with custard and ice cream for a Christmas Cake Parfait. Or crumble the cake into a bowl, add enough orange juice to moisten it, roll it into balls and cover in chocolate for Christmas Cake Pops!

For a more adults-only Fried Christmas Cake

  • Cut 1cm slices of the pudding or cake
  • Fry it in a little butter on both sides so it forms a 'crust'
  • Add a tablespoon of rum or brandy to the pan whilst it is still hot
  • Serve it with Brandy Custard... YUM!


If you baked way too many roast vegetables, don't throw them out! Use them for simple meals like Bubble & Squeak for breakfast, or mash them up slightly, add a few scrambled eggs and a handful of cheese to make a vegetable frittata which makes for a light lunch with some leftover salad! Re-bake the vegetables the next night and serve with cold ham for a simple dinner!

Leftovers need never be boring! In fact they can often be tastier than the main Christmas meal itself – be creative and use that food rather than throwing money down the drain.

More Christmas budget tips 

Along with Jody's tips above, some of our cash-savvy customers offered these bits of advice:

  1. Make your own gifts, particularly for children – check out Pinterest for some great ideas.
  2. Give “promissory notes” with things like two hours gardening, one specially home cooked dinner or one night babysitting.
  3. Shop online for bargains – have a look at discounted department stores such as Peters of Kensington or online auction sites such as Grays. If you want to shop online but don’t like using credit, have a look at Heritage’s Visa Debit Card as it gives you the convenience of a credit card while using your own money.
  4. Making a list of people you need to buy gifts for at the start of the year, and purchase during the year when sales are on.
  5. Start shopping early and use layby, that way you can pay off the amount over a period of time, without paying interest.
  6. Shopping by yourself, without distraction.
  7. Put money away on a weekly or fortnightly basis during the year using a Christmas Club account and taking that money out to spend over the festive season.
  8. Research, research, research – when you know what you want to buy, research as much as possible online and in store to get the best price.
  9. Budget for each person (and pet) and stick to it.
  10. Only spend on credit what you can pay off at the end of that month.

If you're still feeling the pinch of Christmas time remember you're not alone. Christmas can be a stressful time and even more so if costs start to get out of control. For more tips, visit our article on Celebrating Christmas on a Budget or to re-do your budget visit our handy online Budget Planner Calculator.

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