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Christmas on the cheap: Have fun without breaking the bank

A composite image of Australian money and a family eating a Christmas lunch outside.
Aussies are thinking of savvy ways to save this Christmas season. (Source: Getty)

The cost-of-living crisis has hit households hard, but some Aussies have thought of clever ways to save this holiday season.

New research from PayPal found Aussies were an organised bunch when it came to planning the festive season, with a quarter reporting they gradually bought gifts throughout the year to spread costs.

Meanwhile, about half (49 per cent) said they would have most Christmas shopping done before the end of November. Only 6 per cent were planning to wait until the last minute to purchase gifts.

But while Aussies have been quite organised, it’s their savvy ways to save that are impressive.

In addition to shopping the sales, a third of Australians (34 per cent), including close to half of Millennials (44 per cent), aimed to use coupons, cashback, points and loyalty vouchers to maximise their spending power – including deal-finding tools such as Honey.

Hoping to avoid post-Christmas bill shock, more than a quarter of Aussies (27 per cent) said they would be avoiding credit and only buying what they could afford, and one in five (20 per cent) said they would use buy now, pay later services to help spread the cost of their Christmas this year.

Unsurprisingly, seven in 10 said they would shop at the end-of-year sales to bag some bargain gifts.

Black Friday is the most popular sales event, followed by Cyber Monday and people said they were even planning to shop on Boxing Day for belated Christmas presents.

“Gift giving can be a way of showing appreciation, but you don’t necessarily need to spend big,” PayPal shopping expert Danielle Grant said.

“Just over half of us (53 per cent) believe you can still have a great Christmas if you spend wisely, make the most of sales and shop sensibly. And even more of us (57 per cent) believe that gifts don’t have to cost a lot to be meaningful.

“As the age-old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.”

Save on the family feast

When it comes to slicing the cost of the big Christmas lunch or dinner, Aussies have rethought how they will do the festive meals this year.

About half of Aussies (47 per cent) thought that simple, less-expensive Christmas meals could be just as enjoyable as expensive traditional spreads. Given the concerns around prices at the supermarket checkout, three in 10 Aussies will be choosing lower-cost food items this year.

Aussies are not opposed to asking everyone to pitch in either - 44 per cent said they would ask guests to bring food and drinks and 22 per cent said they would ask guests to chip in financially to cover the cost of the meal.

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