Most of us roll our eyes when we start seeing shopping centres spruik Christmas merchandise in November. While it’s important not to get caught up in the festivities too early, now’s actually a great time to start prepping to ensure your budget doesn’t blow out over the silly season.
The best bit? By following some of the below tips, you can turn the retailers’ early mind games against them and save money instead!
1. Buy food ahead of time
Christmas time tends to lead to a lot of socialising. Even if you aren’t the one catering, requests to bring a plate can add up over time.
Make a point of keeping an eye out for food and drinks specials ahead of time and buy items like boxes of chocolates, long life snacks and drinks when they are on special. That will make it much easier to stretch the food budget over Christmas.
2. Opt for Secret Santas
For people who have a large family or friendship circle, Christmas can lead to a long list of presents to buy. Many people prefer not to get extra clutter for their kids, so suggest a Secret Santa arrangement instead of buying for every person.
This way you can put more thought into each gift as well as not creating more stress.
3. Homemade wrapping paper
If the end of term results in your kids bringing home sheets of artwork, why not recycle these and use them for wrapping paper for the extended family?
Not only does this mean that the kids get to see their artwork being passed on to loved ones, but it also saves you money on buying wrapping paper that will be in the bin by Christmas morning.
4. Shift the focus
Rather than dwelling on social media posts of the perfect Christmas morning with matching pyjamas, shift your focus to the true meaning of Christmas: helping others who are less fortunate.
For instance, instead of getting new books for Christmas Eve story time you could choose books from the library and make a donation to charity that helps literacy in at-need communities.
5. Keep a track of your spending
With a large percentage of Australians overspending at Christmas (and feeling guilty about it), it’s important to keep a budget for Christmas and any associated events – like holidays – over that time.
By following a budget, and starting now, you can spread out your spending – $200 a week over five weeks is much better than $1000 in the week before Christmas.
6. A final few tips
– Create a list of who you need to buy for and brainstorm present ideas before you go shopping.
– Make your own gifts.
– Buy online when sales specials are on. This can help you avoid pressure from sales staff and impulse purchases.
– If hosting a Christmas day event, organise it early so attendees can help out with the food and drinks.
Want some extra help?
If you’re struggling with your budget and don’t know how you’re going to make the money stretch over Christmas, give us a call.
We’d love to help you come up with some strategies to ensure that you and your family get to make the most of the silly season ahead.By Dave Fleming : 17 September, 2019
On the up and up. Keen to jump
into a property hotspot?
With housing values falling across half of Australia’s capital cities over the past year – and the media well and truly letting us know all about it – it can be all too easy to forget many regions are doing well. Here’s where property prices have recently experienced healthy growth.
The good news is that almost half of Australia’s 88 sub-regions have experienced growth in housing values over the past twelve months, according to CoreLogic.
These sub-regions are more formally known as SA4 sub-regions, which have populations between 100,000 and 500,000 people.
“Half of these regions have recorded a higher rate of annual capital gain relative to their five year average rate of growth, suggesting some acceleration in market conditions,” says CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless.
“In fact, 35% of the SA4 sub-regions have recorded an improvement in their rate of capital gain over the past 12 months relative to their five year average rate of growth.”
So where’s hot?
Two words: regional areas.
In fact, 57% of all regional areas recorded a rise in dwelling values over the past twelve months, while only 39% of the capital city sub-regions recorded an increase.
Here’s a list of the top 10 healthiest growth markets, all of which outperformed their five-year average.
1. Geelong, Victoria, 11.8% growth
2. Hobart, Tasmania, 10.7% growth
3. South East, Tasmania, 9.9% growth
4. Launceston and North East, Tasmania, 9.3% growth
5. Ballarat, Victoria, 7.1% growth
6. Central West, NSW, 6.1% growth
7. Sunshine Coast, Queensland, 6.0% growth
8. South Australia Outback, SA, 5.8% growth
9. Latrobe – Gippsland, Victoria, 5.3% growth
10. Northern Territory Outback, NT, 5.3% growth
Why are regional markets healthier?
The ‘healthier’ conditions across regional markets can be attributed to a range of factors, says Lawless, including:
More sustainable growth conditions: “Most regional areas have seen relatively sedate housing market conditions compared with the heroic gains across Sydney and Melbourne. The more sustainable history of price growth has kept a lid on housing affordability and made these markets attractive to migrants,” says Lawless.
The ripple effect: “A ripple of demand has been emanating from the largest capitals towards the satellite cities where housing is generally more affordable and lifestyle factors can be appealing.”
Sea change: “Many coastal and lifestyle markets have benefited from a rise in buyer demand, either from those looking for a new residence, second home or investment option.”
Bounce back: “Many of the hard hit mining regions have now levelled out and are now showing some growth.”
Capital Cities that have Experienced Growth
There are some capital cities also doing well, says Lawless.
In Brisbane, seven of the nine SA4 sub-regions have seen a rise in values over the past year.
In Adelaide, three of the four SA4 sub-regions have recorded an annual gain.
Hobart is also experiencing significant growth (10.7%), as seen by its second place spot on the list.
“While conditions are broadly slowing, especially around Sydney and Melbourne, many areas of the country are benefitting from a history of more sustainable growth rates, improving demand and reasonably strong economic conditions,” says Lawless.
Interested in Finding Out More?
If you’re a first home buyer or an investor looking to purchase property in an area that’s recently experienced growth then get in touch.
We’d love to help you source a great home loan and help make your property ownership dream become a reality.