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Ah, the festive season. What a fun, relaxing, exhausting, present-y, delicious time! But it can also be seriously expensive. Here are five ways to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank.

This can help if:

  • you're strapped for cash over the holiday period
  • you're worried about how much money it will cost
  • you want to save money over that time.

1. Host a house party or BBQ

The cost of going out and partying can be a big drain on your finances. Drinks, dinner, entry fees and transport home can all quickly add up, so that before you know it you’ve blown your budget. Instead, invite some friends over for a party at home, or at a mate’s place. BYO drinks and food, and voila – cheap party fun! Or if you’re thinking of a smaller affair, invite your mates to meet for a BBQ in a local park or at the beach.

2. DIY presents and/or Secret Santa

There’s no doubt that buying presents for a bunch of people can end up costing a bomb. Try making your own presents instead, or find something second-hand (such as jewellery from an op shop). If you’re into cooking, bake a whole bunch of biscuits and put them in a cute jar (or follow this example of Pringle jars!). If you’re artistic or creative, draw something original or write a poem or a short story. Another good way to save money on presents is to do a Secret Santa, where you only buy a present for one person in the group.

4. Reconnect with loved ones

When you’re on holiday, there’s a temptation to go out all the time. To save some of the money that you would spend on going out, occasionally socialise with family at home, or choose  cheap or free activities to enjoy with friends. Go for a walk, have a picnic, or see a free exhibition at a museum. The time you spend on building your relationships will be the gift that keeps on giving through to the next year.

5. Read a good book

If a vacation isn’t on the cards, and real life feels a little overwhelming, escape into a good book. If you go to the library, you can spend a whole day reading without spending a cent. Alternatively, buy cheap books at an op shop or second-hand bookstore. Go to a park to read if you want to enjoy the outdoors, or curl up in a quiet corner at home. Here’s a list of popular Australian novels.

What can I do now?