Holiday decorations
Nov 24, 2023

Frugal Festivities: A guide to budget-friendly holidays

Summer holidays are the best time to relax and unwind, but they can also be the most expensive. Between Christmas and New Year's, it can feel like your bank account is taking a beating. With inflation and mounting costs, I’ve had a few people tell me it feels like this year is particularly tough. But fear not, we have some tips to help you save money without sacrificing the festive fun.

🎄 Deck the halls with things from around the house.

Instead of buying expensive decorations, why not make your own? You can get creative with paper, glitter, and other craft supplies to make unique and personalised ornaments. Plus, it's a fun activity to do with family and friends.

Hot tip: You don’t have to go the traditional white Christmas. Try embracing the season and bring some plant life into your home. You can even decorate with dry foods, like popcorn, dried leaves, flax. It could even make a good gift.

Craft paper Christmas tree decorations and hand-made holiday card. Photo by pure julia on Unsplash.

☝️ It's the thought that counts.

Let’s talk about gifts. It's easy to get carried away with buying expensive presents, but remember that it's the thought that counts. Consider giving homemade gifts like baked goods or hand-knitted scarves. Exploring crafted gifts is also a great way to experiment with new hobbies and can be quite rewarding in itself. If you do need to buy gifts, shop around for the best deals and discounts.

Personally, I’m into photography, so last year I gave framed photos of my work to family, friends and colleagues. It was a hit, because it was so personal and unique.

A framed photo of Island Bay. Photo by Derrick Olivier.
“He had a broad face, And a round little belly. That shook when he laughed, Like a bowl full of jelly.” – ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas

🎅 Maybe don't buy all the treaty-treats?

Santa’s beautiful dad-bod aside, let's talk about the food. Where possible, avoid splurging on expensive ingredients and try to rather opt for cheaper alternatives. For example, you can make delicious salads and sandwiches with seasonal produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocados that feed the whole team. And if you're planning a BBQ, hāngī or braai, consider asking guests to bring a dish to share.

Table laid out for Christmas dinner. Photo by Derrick Olivier.

🌞 You can save and still have fun!

The summer holidays are the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful New Zealand weather. Instead of spending money on expensive activities, why not go for a hike, have a picnic, or visit the beach or a lake? There are plenty of free and low-cost options for entertainment, so get creative and have fun!

At Debut, we’re all about keeping down unnecessary spending. In the past, we’ve put on beach games, and I can honestly say, everyone had a blast.

People playing tug-o-war on the beach. Photo by Derrick Olivier.

Remember, the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, not how much money you can spend. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can have a fun and festive holiday season without breaking the bank.

Do you have any stories to share on how you’ve kept costs down over the holidays? Share it in Money Matters on our Community.

Derrick Olivier is Head of Community and Growth at Debut