1. Contact your local Salvation Army and ask about the Christmas Cheer Program
2. Seek out which church based organisations are offering Christmas day lunch in your area
3. If don’t want to feel the financial pressure of Christmas Day, consider volunteering your time on Christmas Day to help others
4. Contact your local council, community centre or library to see what free Christmas activities are offered in your area during the Christmas period
5. Visit your local op shop for Christmas supplies
6. If you are considering buying a pet as a gift for Christmas, consider adopting from a rescue centre
7. Buy in bulk and split the cost with friends and/or family members
8. Start buying non-perishable groceries now
9. If you know that there will be non-perishable groceries that you will need for Christmas, buy 2 of them when they are half price, that way you will have one for now and one for Christmas
10. Instead of an expensive hot turkey, consider a non-traditional, southern-hemisphere inspired Christmas Day menu of cold meat and salads
11. As most supermarkets are closed on Christmas Day, pay them a visit the night before right before they close to see what food has been discounted
12. It doesn’t snow this side of the equator on Christmas Day, so take Christmas outside. As an option, suggest that everyone bring a salad or a packet of sausages to cook on the public BBQ at your local park.
13. Instead of trying to buy (or make) a Christmas pudding, consider making a ‘non-traditional’ ice cream cake
14. Consider using accumulated supermarket loyalty points to buy your Christmas food
15. Instead of hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner, consider the cheaper option of a Christmas breakfast (no turkey required)
16. Avoid Christmas hampers that have year-long payment arrangements. You can end up paying a lot more for items compared to if you purchased them outright.
17. Don’t feel pressured to serve ‘traditional’ food at Christmas time. In Japan, it is tradition for around 3.6 million families to get a ‘holiday party bucket’ from KFC on Christmas Eve…
18. Instead of buying a whole turkey, ham or chicken, consider buying separate cuts of meat (e.g. legs, wings, roasts, etc.)
19. Commit to a budget. Draw up a table with who you are buying for and how much you can afford to spend on each person. Do not go over your budget.
20. If the children in your family are getting older, consider the option of a Secret Santa (each person is responsible for only one gift)
21. Take advantage of the extended Christmas shopping hours. There will be less people around, which means you may feel less stressed and rushed
22. Don’t feel pressured by others, or yourself, to buy Christmas presents you cannot afford
23. Wrapping paper can be expensive. Consider newspaper, material, cellophane, brown paper, etc
24. Consider baking cookies or making a Christmas pudding as alternative to buying someone a Christmas present
25. Consider making homemade pickles, jams, preserves and giving them as gifts
26. Only go shopping for Christmas gifts when you know what you want to buy – avoid impulse purchases that are not within your budget
27. Save money on buying Christmas cards by sending your Christmas greetings electronically via email, text or social media
28. If you are creative, try a DIY present – soaps, candles, a knitted scarf, a tie dye t shirt, a photo frame, a painting, etc
29. Consider giving the ‘gift of time’ to someone. Create a coupon book of activities that you could do together in the future (e.g. watching a movie of the other person’s choice)
30. Do not put yourself in financial hardship just so you can buy what others consider to be ‘the most amazing, best Christmas present of 2019’… it will be something completely different by Christmas 2020
31. If you don’t know what to get someone, consider a small charity donation on their behalf
32. Consider giving gift cards instead of actual gifts
33. Avoid the temptation of getting ‘quick, easy’ money through pay day lenders to buy Christmas presents
34. Recycle Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags from previous years
35. Get your children involved by making your own Christmas cards
36. Buy your 2020 Christmas decorations on or after Boxing Day
37. If buying a new Christmas tree is not in your budget this year, consider designing and building your own
38. To give the traditional ‘Christmas tree’ a modern twist, decorate an indoor plant
39. Make your own table decorations – i.e. use a roll of wrapping paper as a table runner or pick foliage from your garden
40. Make your own Christmas stockings by decorating old pillow cases
41. Use newspaper and craft paint to make a home-made Christmas garland
42. Choose solar Christmas lights over electric
43. Do not put yourself in debt trying to make your house look like something you saw online. You don’t need to make people believe that you live in a European, snow covered cottage…
44. Are you a casual employee and does your work place close over Christmas? Make sure that you have funds saved up to cover essential living expenses over the Christmas break.
45. Do not put yourself into financial hardship for the sake of others. If you cannot afford to attend a Christmas function, it is ok to politely decline the invitation.
46. It is inevitable that there will be people out there that will spend more/less than you at Christmas. Remember to work within your budget this Christmas
47. The weather at Christmas time can be extremely hot. Consider doing a home energy audit on your air conditioner/cooling system to see the amount of electricity it uses and what it is costing you
48. For Christmas 2020, consider putting money away each fortnight into a separate bank account
49. Create a Christmas spending budget and keep track of food, presents, decorations, etc
50. Try to avoid using the money you would spend on essential living expenses (rent, electricity, etc) to pay for Christmas. This will catch up with you when Christmas is over.
In Australia, 15 out of every 100 women and 7 out of every 100 men experience financial abuse.
Financial abuse often occurs alongside other forms of domestic violence, such as physical, sexual and psychological abuse. It is reported that up to 9 out of 10 women who access domestic violence services have experienced financial abuse.
Who can be a perpetrator of financial abuse?
- Partners, husbands, wives, girlfriends or boyfriends (including exes)
- Carers or paid support workers
- Parents, guardians or other family members
- Adult children
- Other people you live with or see often
What are some of the signs of financial abuse?
- Has someone stopped, or attempted to stop you from accessing your bank account?
- Has someone stopped, or attempted to stop you from working or studying?
- Has someone refused to contribute financially to the household, or does contribute but not enough to cover basic household living expenses?
- Has someone pressured you to sign up for loans, credit cards, consumer leases, pay day loans or utility accounts in your name?
- Has someone damaged, stole or sold your property without your permission?
- Has someone stopped, or attempted to stop you from using social media, your mobile phone, internet or the family car?
- Has someone made you feel like you cannot manage money on your own?
If you, or someone you know, answered yes to any of the above questions it is important to speak to someone about the situation.
Who do I contact?
- 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) – 24 Hour counselling and support service for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
- National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007 – Free, confidential and independent service provided by Financial Counsellors who can guide you through your options to help you plan your way out of debt
For more information about financial abuse, see the attached video from 1800 Respect
For more information about domestic violence, see the attached link to the Domestic Violence section of the Affordable SA App
Back to school costs are no longer just about uniforms and stationery.
Over the last decade the emphasis on the technology used for education has meant kids require more access to laptops and mobile devices as part of their every day learning. This has meant a huge increase in schooling costs and puts even more pressure on parents finding it hard to cope with cost of living pressures.
Computers and mobile devices are now by far the most significant part of schooling costs for many families and finding the money at this time of the year can send people spiralling into more debt. Many will still have outstanding bills from Christmas.
How can you pay for your kids essential learning needs without sinking further into debt or needing to think about other forms of loans that may cost you a lot more?
Have you heard of NILS? The No Interest Loans Scheme run by Good Finance loans has helped many families to purchase white goods and household items such as fridges and washing machines without paying any interest or charges. No interest, no charges at all! Now the Good Finance NILS is available to help with your back to school needs including computer and text books.
Low Income earners and people in hardship can access this help.
No interest loans are the best and cheapest way for people on low incomes to cover household expenses and necessities, you only repay what you borrow, so you don’t get caught in a cycle of borrowing and debt.
To apply for a no interest loan, visit nils.com.au to find your nearest provider or check out more about NILS and other assistance available in South Australia see the Affordable SA App (download free on Apple and Google play) and website [www.affordablesa.com.au](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/) or ring the [Affordable SA Helpline](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/affordable-sa-helpline) on 1800 025 539.
And just like that the school holidays are over.
If you have children, the back to school frenzy is probably the next big financial thing in your life.
Whether a child is starting Reception or Year 12, the cost of education can have an extremely large impact on household finances.
Uniforms, bags, textbooks, stationery, school fees, camps, excursions, school photos, swimming carnivals, laptops, lunches…the list goes on.
Here on the Helpline, particularly this time of year, we hear many stories of families who are trying to juggle everyday living expenses in an attempt to buy laptops, school jumpers, school shoes or any other extra cost that may surface for the new school year.
For more information about how to reduce back to school costs, see the attached link to the Moneysmart website.
The Affordable SA App also has a dedicated section for Education. See the following link for more information https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/education