How to not wipe out this festive season

Last updated 05:00 01/12/2013

How do you cut costs at Christmas?

Share your stories, photos and videos.
Christmas tree
KEEP IT SIMPLE: Christmas can easily wipe out months of savings unless it is well planned and controlled.

Relevant offers


Research shows hope for Maori women's money lives. Opinion: We're setting off on an expedition to climb a mountain of debt British American Tobacco offers to buy Reynolds in US$47 billion deal How to accumulate and save with AA Smartfuel Single people facing struggle to service mortgages Take action to avoid KiwiSaver disappointment at 65 Trade Me Property data shows no rise in rents for third consecutive month Papakura Configure Express members claim refund demands going unanswered The psychology behind why that smashed avocado costs $22 When price doesn't matter: How we're tricked into needlessly spending hundreds of dollars

"Christmas is hard," says Mele*. "My family is big enough to feed, and then my cousins and their children come, my aunties, my uncles, my mother, and my mother's mother! They all come and say ‘Aunty Mele, what's for Christmas dinner?' "

Last year, Christmas wiped out all the family's money - every last cent - and the kids got hardly any presents.

This year, Mele has resolved to do things differently.

She and her husband approached a budget adviser for help.

The adviser showed them that saving with their local supermarket worked out cheaper than the Christmas hamper they were eyeing up.

She also suggested some fun free activities to do with the family, like beach cricket.

"Get my fat cousin Henry to chase the ball!" Mele laughs.

This year, Mele has given the kids a spending limit of $25 for presents.

"Still, five times $25 plus me and my husband is almost $200," she says.

The family has been putting money into a Christmas fund each week, and will have enough for presents in a few more weeks.

It's quite a turnaround from last year's wipe-out:

"This Christmas we've saved for everything and we won't be in trouble afterwards," says Mele.

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Raewyn Fox is chief executive of the Federation of Family Budgeting Services

Ad Feedback

- Sunday News

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content