As the cost of living rises, here are 6 ways to reduce your Christmas spending…and 6 ways to manage your finances in the New Year.


There’s no getting away from it – 2023 has been a tough year.

As if the increased cost of living wasn’t enough, with essentials like fuel, groceries and utilities continuing to rise, a seemingly never-ending series of interest rate hikes mean homeowners have less money in their pockets, while renters are also getting squeezed.

After a year like this, most of us feel like tapping out from work and enjoying some quality time with friends and family over the festive season.

But the reality is the Christmas period can come with pressure of its own – pressure to meet up, pressure to do stuff and most of all, pressure to spend.

Whether it’s getting the kids some decent presents, chipping in for a catch-up meal with old friends or booking that much-needed getaway down the coast, it all costs money.

No-one wants to feel like a Grinch and you could easily find yourself spending more than you intended.

The danger is the more you enjoy the festivities, the worse your spending hangover come the New Year.

So here are some simple ways to reduce the post-holiday debt hangover…and to avoid spending too much in the first place.

6 ways to enjoy a great Christmas without breaking the bank...

Plan ahead

As anyone who finds themselves in Melbourne megamall Chaddie at 11pm on Christmas Eve can attest, the last minute dash for presents isn’t much fun. And it’s very easy to overspend when you’re rushing around.

A much better idea is to create a gift budget a few weeks in advance and do some research online before hitting the shops. And advance planning can work in the kitchen too – buying on special rather than waiting to pick up your festive treats.

You could even try leaving the credit card at home and only spend what you have by using cash or a debit card.

Look at cheaper options

You could try choosing thoughtful but modest gifts such as handmade items or plants for the garden.

You could buy in bulk or use resellers such as Gumtree or eBay to buy second hand and at a fraction of the price.

And if you’re dead set on getting the latest noise-cancelling headphones, you could save by buying in advance on Black Friday or Cyber Monday…or waiting until Boxing Day.

You can also get a little more savvy and use apps or websites that give you cashback on various online retailers and also share discount codes for shopping online.

Give the gift of time or skill

There’s more to giving than things you can wrap – more meaningful experiences matter, too. Instead of another bottle of wine or vanilla-scented candle, taking someone out for a picnic, or providing a home-cooked meal, could be more up their alley.

Pitch in as a group

Group giving can be a great way to chip in and buy more expensive gifts. And Secret Santa doesn’t have to just be at work…you could extend the idea to your friendship group and make it a fun get-together.

Regift it

Admit it, you’ve probably done it. And it makes sense too. After all, why let a bottle of red go to waste if you don’t drink it, let alone unworn clothes.

Whether we don’t like what we’ve been given, or ethically choose to reduce waste and lengthen an item’s lifespan, regifting is increasingly acceptable.

Choose experiences, not stuff

A picnic in the park or a family day out to the beach can provide wonderful Christmas memories without needing to break the bank.

...and 6 ways to get your finances in order in the New Year

Create a budget

You can get a clearer view of what you can and can’t afford by using an online tool like AMP’s Budget planner calculator.

A budget can help you decide what’s essential (mortgage, rent, insurance) and what you could potentially ditch (streaming services, gym membership, eating out) to reduce the strain on your household finances.

Track your spending

Once you work out where your money goes, you can start reducing your expenses.

If you’re spending on non-essentials like eating out, you could either cut back completely or find more affordable options. In the end, every bit adds up. It’s your lifestyle so you don’t need to deprive yourself of fun altogether, but even cutting back a little here and there could make a difference.

Go hunting for deals

Much like death and taxes, bills are an inescapable part of life. But you may be able to save money. Reach out to your gas, electricity, mobile phone and broadband providers, and see if they have better deals or even shop around for a new provider. The Federal Government's, Energy made easy website helps you compare different energy providers for free.

Get on top of any debt

Consolidating your loans into one monthly repayment could save you money on interest rates and fees, and simplify your finances into the bargain.

And if you’re finding it hard to keep up with your repayments, call your providers to let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship. They can assess your situation and develop alternative payment plans to help you during difficult times.

Do the hustle

After you’ve sorted your budget, you could do the same for your house. Garages or spare rooms can be a treasure trove, from forgotten kids’ games to clothes you’d only ever need if you get invited to a 90s theme party.

You might be able to turn these into ready cash on Facebook marketplace, eBay, Gumtree or by taking a stall at your local market.

And if you’d rather trade your skills than your Friends boxset, you might be able to earn extra income via sites like hipages, Airtasker or Freelancer in the gig economy.

Think green and cut wastage

Going green doesn’t just help the environment — it can also be one of the best ways to save money.

If you find you’re throwing out food at the end of every week, you might be able to reduce your grocery spending and your food waste.

If you’re continually replacing household goods, you could consider repairing, reusing or upcycling.

And if you’re a two-car household, you could think about whether you can do without the second car and save money on petrol, tolls, parking, registration, insurance and maintenance.


What you need to know

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It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement, Target Market Determination or terms and conditions, available from AMP at, or by calling 131 267, before deciding what’s right for you.

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