Six-week Christmas savings challenge

The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about presents, food, and festivities … and how much all of that is going to cost you. You may be worrying that you don’t have time to save enough, but if you haven’t started saving yet, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This six-week Christmas savings challenge has been designed with procrastinators, and those on a tight budget, in mind.

So whether you’re looking to avoid financial stress or simply want to have enough money for a nice Christmas without going into debt, this guide is for you.

What is the six-week Christmas savings challenge?

This challenge is designed to help you save $500 in six weeks. It helps hold you accountable to save intentionally from the first or second week in November to around the second week of December. This gives you enough time to save, and obtain, Christmas gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

How does the six-week Christmas savings challenge work?

It’s actually very simple. All you need to do is set aside a certain amount of money each week for six weeks. If you have less time, you may need to double up on the payments for a couple of weeks. The amounts start small and increase each week, so even if your budget is tight this year, there’s no need to panic.

You will be saving the following increments:

•           Week 1: $65

•           Week 2: $75

•           Week 3: $80

•           Week 4: $80

•           Week 5: $85

•           Week 6: $115

Read: How to make Christmas gifts from scratch

Where to save your money

This part is entirely up to you. The most important thing is finding a method that works best for you, and keeping your savings somewhere safe and out of reach so there’s no temptation to spend it before Christmas arrives.

This could mean an online savings account separate from your other accounts, stashing cash in a shoebox or an envelope system – whatever will help keep those precious dollars untouched until Christmas shopping rolls around.

What about if you don’t complete the challenge?

Having something saved is always better than nothing. If you manage to save anything for Christmas, especially this late in the year, it’s something to be celebrated. If you’re struggling to meet the payments, perhaps try selling some things you don’t use anymore, or offer to help a neighbour out with some small jobs for a small fee.

Once all six amounts have been saved consecutively over six weeks – congratulations! You will have saved $500. Even if life gets busy and throws some curveballs your way (which, let’s face it, happens), try not to get discouraged if one week falls by the wayside – every little bit helps when trying reach your savings goals.

A survey of 1015 people by Finder found that Australians are set to fork out $23.9 billion on everything from presents to pina coladas this festive season. That’s equivalent to a 38 per cent increase compared to last year’s estimated $17.3 billion spend.

The average Aussie is expected to spend $1232 this Christmas on presents, food, alcohol, eating out and travel.

Victorians will be spending the most of any state ($1373), followed by those in New South Wales ($1361).

Read: How you could be paying for your Christmas goodies

What are we spending our money on?

Presents come at the top of the Christmas list this year, with an estimated $374 spend per person. This is closely followed by food ($308) and travel ($269).

Millennials are predicted to spend the most overall this Christmas ($1518), while baby boomers plan to spend the least ($930). Gen X will spend the most on gifts ($406), while millennials take the lead on eating out ($258) and alcohol ($148).

Women ($1265) will be spending slightly more than men ($1201) this holiday season. Women fork out $434 each on gifts on average – that’s 39 per cent more than men ($313).

The festive season is a time for celebrating with family, friends and good food – but it doesn’t come cheap.

How to save money this Christmas

Shop during the sales. You can pick up Christmas goodies for a fraction of the regular price during the pre-Christmas sales. At this time, huge discounts are offered across a range of fashion, homewares, electronics and more.

Read: Retailers warn against last-minute Christmas shopping

Look for discounts. Online shopping can be cheaper for first-time customers. Many retailers offer a 10–20 per cent discount for first-time customers who sign up online with an email address. This is an easy way to score a deal and you can always unsubscribe later.

Have a separate Christmas savings account. This type of account generally restricts access until the start of the holiday season, so you won’t be tempted to dip into your savings before then.

Know when to say no. From end of year celebrations to office Christmas parties, it’s easy to overspend at these occasions. It’s okay to turn down the odd event here and there. This can end up saving you a small fortune over the holiday period.

Do you have anything saved for Christmas this year? How much do you usually spend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. If you haven’t put money away during the year you are highly unlikely to do so in these last few weeks. I save a regular amount each week in a high interest bearing account during the year and I usually have money left over to start the new year’s saving. Try buying items during the year for gifts – I try to keep things simple and make sure it’s something that person will like and use. Also don’t go overboard on buying special food for Christmas Day. I’ve found on too many occassions there are too many items still waiting to be eaten after NY.

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