5 ways to cope with a Christmas financial hangover

Christmas is known to be a time of excess and come the new year, it’s not only our waistlines suffering the consequences. If you’ve found yourself guilty of financial overindulgence, here are some ways to help you save money.

1. Transform trash into treasure

The new year is a great time to declutter and why not make some extra pocket money while you’re at it?

“Declutter and sell unwanted items on Gumtree, Ebay or through a garage sale.” says Peter Horsfield, founder and senior advisor of SMART Advice. “It is a great way to make some cash and let go of what’s just taking space.”

2. Enjoy free events this summer

Living in Australia gives us the advantage of having our Christmas holidays over the summertime. Not only is the weather a major benefit but it means that free entertainment is plentiful.

For those who live in Melbourne, this time of year means you can watch a spot of tennis on the lawns of the Rod Laver Arena with fellow Australian Open enthusiasts at no cost. Fellow Sydneysiders, can catch all the freebies on offer at the upcoming Chinese New Year Festival starting from 6 February. Check your local council’s website to see what’s on, or alternatively, go for a walk and explore the wonders of your own city.

3. Enjoy low-cost everyday gourmet meals at home

Discover your inner-master chef and save some coin at the same time. An average night out consisting of food and drinks for two people can cost up to $100, according to Horsfield. Save that cash by staying in and experiment with new recipes and cuisines. You could also gather some friends and family and arrange a cooking style co-op where everyone takes turns to cook for each other.

4. Quit smoking

...or any habitual vice such as excessive drinking that is costing you more than a pretty penny. Without taking into account the obvious health factors, Aussies who regularly smoke are being set back an average of $21 a packet, which makes now more than ever the best time to quit.

If going cold turkey isn’t a feasible option, downsize. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save if you cut down on a costly habit.

5. Save your energy

Before turning on any household appliance, ask yourself if there’s an alternative solution.

“Ditch the dryer and use the clothesline to dry your clothes”, recommends Abigail Koch, spokesperson at comparethemarket.com.au.

Also, ensure electronics not in use are completely turned off.

“Laptops, stereos, televisions and set-top boxes are the biggest contributors to your stand-by bill. Every additional one watt of standby power will add approximately $2.98 to your annual electricity bill if left on all the time,” suggests Koch.