Sydney Times



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Christmas time rolls around every December. But despite the certainty of the occasion, many of us don’t have a Christmas budget in place – often resulting in overspend during a financially straining season.

As cost-of-living pressures mount and Aussie families are tightening their belts, Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ) has released its top five tips to ensure you don’t have a budget blow out this Christmas.

CA ANZ Group Executive Advocacy, Simon Grant, said no one wants to wake up in the New Year with a hangover, financial or otherwise.

“Having a Christmas budget doesn’t mean you need to be the grinch during the festive season,” Mr Grant said.


“In fact, having a budget will make sure you aren’t a grinch – it will help you understand what you’re paying for at a time when the credit card often gets a serious workout.


“Just like with food and alcohol, the key to success is moderation, moderation, moderation.”

  1. Gifts – pick your limit and stick to it

“Every year my family says, ‘no gifts this year!’ – and every year, they bring gifts,” Mr Grant said.

“When you’re buying for two sides of the family, the costs can add up quickly.

“To keep spending under control, I recommend picking a total amount you are willing to spend on gifts and divide that by how many people you’re buying for. Then you have a set amount for each person to work with.

“And remember – young kids don’t care how much their present costs, so don’t get carried away.”

  1. Catering – don’t go overboard and look for specials

“I think most families over-cater on Christmas Day, but there’s only so much left-over ham you can (or, at least, should!) stomach.

“To avoid this, plan with your family to decide who brings what dish. Keep an eye out for discounts and specials too – they can make a real difference to the grand total when you save a few dollars here and there.

“Your waistline will thank you, as well as your wallet!”

  1. When travelling – shop around for the best prices

“Airfares and petrol prices have been steeply climbing – and with no border restrictions to navigate this year, families will be keen to hit the road or the skies to see their loved ones this Christmas.

“While there are some deals to be had, unfortunately they’re rarely at Christmas, with costs often spiking and accommodation over the festive season being eye-wateringly expensive.

“To get the best bang for your buck at the bowser, use apps like Fuel Check in NSW to find the cheapest fuel close to you – in some areas there has been a 40 cent per litre difference just by picking the right station.

“And shop around online for the best accommodation and flight costs. Some platforms can save you a hefty amount for the same room in the same hotel, which can be put towards other things (like my next point!).”

  1. Have a cash reserve in case things go wrong


“Things can go wrong over the silly season – so it’s important to have a cash reserve in case you need to call in a plumber to fix a broken tap or leaky shower while the family is in town.

“These call outs can be incredibly expensive, especially after hours. So, squirrel away a cash reserve that remains untouched in case you land yourself in hot water at some point.”

  1. Don’t load up the credit card


“Credit cards can be a useful tool from time to time, however what you pay today you have to pay back tomorrow, often at an eye-watering interest rate.

“Review your spending and ask yourself: ‘do I really need this, and can I afford it?’ If the answer is no to either, the solution is not the credit card, it’s to walk away.”

About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand represents more than 135,000 financial professionals, supporting them to make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live. Chartered Accountants are known as Difference Makers. The depth and breadth of their expertise helps them to see the big picture and chart the best course of action.

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