The Chrisco Corner
May 16, 2022 / Blog
The Perks of Online Shopping
The internet has transformed the way we shop. Increasingly, people are taking advantage of the ease and convenience of online shopping instead of heading to stores in person.
Without a doubt, convenience is the #1 perk of shopping online. There's no catching public transport, trying to secure a park, standing in line and hassle-free shopping from zealous salespeople meeting their monthly targets! Online shopping gives us the freedom to shop 24/7 in our PJs from the couch!
The variety of products available online is breathtaking. You can find almost any brand from anywhere worldwide with a few clicks of the mouse. The stock levels online are much more abundant meaning that you're likely to find the style, size and colour you need.
When you shop the conventional way, you often tend to spend more than you intended, or you wind up settling for items that aren't quite right. Shopping online gives you access to far greater inventory than in-store to find what you're searching for.
If you hate crowds then online shopping can be a lifesaver as it eliminates the need for you to fight for a car space, stand in lines and dodge hordes of people.
Easy to send gifts
Online shopping makes sending gifts to family and friends a complete breeze. Most online sellers have packaging, gift-wrapping, shopping and personalised gift cards making it convenient to gift someone.
Many websites like us here at Chrisco enable shoppers to pay off their purchases in instalments meaning that you can spread your shopping costs over a period. Click here to find out some of the fabulous products that we have available at Chrisco
May 09, 2022 / Blog
How To Keep Your Mental Health In Top Shape
The world has become slightly crazy, and everything feels upside down. It’s tricky to wrap your head around the "New Normal". As we slowly emerge from Covid and the pandemic that has rocked the world, it's time to take back control and this is how to do it:
Keep connected: If anything, the last two years plus have shown us just how important it is to maintain connections with family and friends and enlightened us on the many innovative and creative ways to stay connected. Whether in person, over zoom, chat or on the good ol' phone, staying in touch with people you love makes you feel happy, safe, less stressed and anxious. Simply, just better overall!
Balance your media exposure: It's important to stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, but it's equally important to know when to switch off the TV and put down the iPad. Information overload can be mentally exhausting and send your anxiety levels sky-high. Be aware of how watching the news and interacting with social media makes you feel and limit your exposure accordingly.
Explore different ways to relax: We all "Switch Off" in different ways so it might take a bit of trial and error to work out what it takes for you to relax and recharge. It doesn’t have to be all candles and bubble baths, it may be reading a good book, watching Netflix, wandering around the shops or expressing yourself creatively – find what works for you and incorporate it into your regular routine.
Stick to a routine: Nothing creates balance and harmony more than when you stick to a routine. It provides direction and stability, particularly important when the world around us is so topsy-turvy. Establish clear distinctions between work and leisure time and try and establish good sleep and meal patterns. Sticking to a routine will help you to manage your days without additional stress and create a sense of normality in the current crazy world we're living in.
Keep on moving: One of the most beneficial things that you can do for your mind is to move your body. Physical activity is a mood stabiliser and can be a game-changer when it comes to mental health. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your everyday routine. You will feel the difference almost immediately.
We are all unique, all different in managing stress and the pressures of everyday living. What's most important is to recognise how you're feeling and incorporate practices that help you to feel good, enjoy life and take care of your mental and physical well-being.
May 02, 2022 / Blog
How To Celebrate Mum This Mother’s Day
The first special woman in everyone’s life is their mum! With Mother’s Day around the corner, there is no better time to share the love and let your mum or mother figure know just how much they mean to you!
Here are a few things you can do to make her feel special:
Relieve her of duties: Let's be honest, a mum's job never stops and they rarely get a break. One of the best things any mum could ask for on Mother's Day is a break from the daily grind. Forget expensive bath salts and spa treatments, what she really wants is a day off from the cooking, cleaning and fixing! Think a delicious home-cooked meal, doing all the household chores (laundry, dirty dishes, lawn mowing and repairs). And don't forget to give her one big hug to say thank you for all that you do every day!
Remember something that she loves: Perhaps it's a movie, a song, an old family story or favourite food. Choose a fond memory and make it the feature of her day! This will be sure to touch her heart and pull on her heartstrings!
20, 30, 40, 50 things I love about you!: Choose a few affirmations and get your family to write small notes on all the things they love about mum. Fold the paper and place it in a glass jar, and then decorate the jar in a way you know she'll love! This simple gesture is a unique gift that your mum will never cease to get joy from, especially on a bad day. Whenever she needs a pick-me-up, she can pull a note from the jar, read it and remind herself just how fab she really is!
April 25, 2022 / Blog
Top 5 Easy Money Saving Hacks
With the cost of living on the rise, there is no better time to look at ways to save a few bucks. Try these five easy money-saving hacks, and you'll have more spare coin at the end of the day.
Never shop when you are hungry: Shopping for groceries when you are hungry is a BAD idea. You usually end up buying more than you need and things you shouldn't be buying e.g. that chocolate bar at the checkout! Have a quick snack before shopping to be less tempted by impulse buys.
Cut back on subscriptions: Ask yourself if you need all those subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions may not seem like much when purchasing individual subscriptions e.g. $12.99 here, $14.99 there but when you add them all up you may get bill shock. Go through your subscriptions and work out what you use and can do without. You'll be surprised at how much money this one small hack can save your spending.
Count the pennies, not the pounds: The adage that “If you look after the pennies then the pounds will take care of themselves” is very true. If you can cut back even $1 per day you'll save close to $30/month or $360/year. Think how much you could save if you trimmed the fat on your expenses – those pennies will quickly turn into pounds.
Have your coffee at home or work: With the price of takeaway coffee looking to hit the $7 mark by the end of 2022, your daily latte is becoming much more of a splurge than it used to be. Treat yourself to one or two takeaway coffees a week to not feel deprived, and on other days make your own!
Take your lunch with you: As tempting as it is to pick up a quick takeaway roll or sushi for lunch, this can become an expensive habit. Use leftovers from dinner and transform them into tomorrow’s lunch.
April 18, 2022 / Blog
How to Stop Increased Living Costs from Blowing Your Budget
The cost of living for Australians is currently under the spotlight as inflation rates increase. The world economy is still reeling from the pandemic and subsequent logistical hurdles and labour shortages. Adding to this Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended commodity markets and sent fuel prices skyrocketing. The result is that the average Australian is now paying over $2.20/L at the petrol pump, and by the end of the year our morning coffee could be costing us $7. When prices are so breathtakingly high it can be easy to go into panic mode and think there is no way to escape a budget blowout. It may not be easy, but there are ways you can keep your families on track even when the cost of living is on the rise.
Here are some tips:
1. Budget: When living costs are high, budgeting becomes even more critical. It forces us to roadmap our spending habits, keeps us in tune with our expenses and makes us aware of areas where we can cut back.
2. Lock in fixed prices when you can: Try to secure fixed prices to avoid price increases.
3. Explore layby as a purchasing superpower: Layby is a very underutilised tool in budgeting. It allows you to buy things anytime and pay them off in affordable instalments without incurring interest.
4. Meal plan: Groceries are one of the biggest family expenses. Meal planning can help you cut down your grocery bill, reduce food wastage and stick to your budget.
5. Make leftovers the new takeaway: Nothing blows the weekly budget more than an expensive takeaway. Get creative with your leftovers and turn them into new meals. For example, leftover rice and meat can become poke bowls; pizza transformed into panini using a sandwich press; and any leftover veggies into a delicious frittata.
6. Carpool, walk or take public transport: With petrol prices at an all-time high now is the time to look at reducing your travel costs. Consider walking if you can, getting public transport or carpooling with family, friends and colleagues.
7. Sell something to buy something: Most of us have an abundance of unused items sitting around the house or taking up cupboard space. Have a good spring clean and start selling off unwanted goods. As they say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.
April 11, 2022 / Blog
How Fixed Pricing Is A Game Changer In Economic Uncertainty
The cost of living in Australia has skyrocketed due to the pandemic, floods and war. From your morning coffee to petrol and groceries and everything in between consumers are facing massive price increases.
The knock-on effect for families on a budget is highly challenging. Consumer Network One Big Switch compared the prices of every product currently stocked at Coles and Woolworths to one year ago. The results are startling, with some prices soaring by 94% in the past year.
Some of the hardest-hit items on the shelves include fruit and vegetables, pantry staples and drinks. Severe inflationary pressures and supply issues have caused fuel prices to surge making it harder and harder for average Australians to make ends meet. This is how having a Chrisco order can help. One of the main benefits of Chrisco is its fixed prices. Compared to store shopping, Chrisco customers are unaffected by avoiding price increases over the year.
In hard times, budgeting can be made even more difficult. However, the ability to lock in fixed prices and spread the cost over a period can be a game-changer for many families. In addition to the fixed prices and the ability to pay off your purchases in manageable payments, Chrisco also offers budget-friendly options for many household staples such as tinned or frozen vegetables instead of fresh produce. Fixed pricing and lay-by payments provide families with a way to offset and avoid price hikes.
While impossible to fully avoid rises in living costs, there are many ways to mitigate their effects on your family's budget. With no interest fees, no sign-up or account keeping fees, fixed pricing and up to 52-week payment plans, Chrisco provides a fantastic, affordable alternative to traditional shopping. Click here to explore the wide variety of products that Chrisco offers that will allow you to continue to buy some of your family's favourites without breaking the budget!
April 04, 2022 / Blog
How To Celebrate Easter On A Budget
Even though it feels like we’ve just finished celebrating Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day, suddenly, Easter is upon us! Whilst less costly than Christmas to celebrate, the Easter decorations, food, and (of course) chocolate can all add up, especially if on a budget! The great thing about Easter is that it can be a fun and memorable occasion without breaking the bank. Here we share with you our top 5 tips for celebrating Easter on a budget.
Making your own Easter decorations is a great way to keep costs down and great activity for the whole family. You'll be amazed at the cool decorations you can make with stuff you already have at home or picked up cheaply at the dollar store. Head to Pinterest for inspiration and get your creative juices flowing!
Forget seafood and expensive cuts of beef, Easter isn't about fancy dishes so keep the food simple. Easter is a relaxing celebration amongst loved ones, and there's nothing wrong with an easy homecooked meal!
Take the traditional Easter egg hunt to the next level with a scavenger hunt instead, an entertaining activity that will amuse all ages for hours.
Hide eggs in secret locations with hints, clues and riddle-solving to discover where the following treats are hiding. At each egg found, the scavenger will find a clue leading to the next prize, the one after, and the one after that etc.
Decorating Easter eggs is a long-adored family tradition that is enjoyable, inexpensive and creates a special Easter memory. You only need some hard-boiled eggs, food dye to dip them in, and your design choices are endless!
Appreciate the symbolic message of Easter as the celebration of new life by planting in your garden or balcony. From colourful fruits, veggies, fresh herbs and flowers, planting something new will make you feel good and is a fun family activity.
March 28, 2022 / Blog
Don't Let Inflation Wreak Havoc With Your Budget
Inflation has hit, and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. We are experiencing higher prices on everything from food and petrol to rent and many goods and services. Here are a few measures to save your hip pocket, manage your budget and ride out the inflationary storm.
Follow a budget: Following a budget or spending plan is one of the most effective ways to combat inflation. Set aside money at the beginning of each month and stick to your budget.
Lock in fixed priced items: Where possible try to lock in prices and pay off items over time to avoid inflation creep and manage your budget effectively. Lay-by services such as Chrisco enable you to lock in fixed pricing and pay off your order over the year in regular payments (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to avoid price hikes irrespective of rising inflation.
Cut back on unnecessary expenses: Time to forego a few small luxuries and find economical alternatives to cushion the inflation blows. For example, make coffee at home instead of getting takeaway, push back your hair appointments by a few weeks, and bring lunch to work.
Forget about “Keeping up with the Joneses”: We are all guilty at one point of trying to keep up with the latest trends in fashion and entertainment. When inflation is high, it’s time to live within our means even if you want that new flatscreen your neighbour just bought! Now's the time to tighten the belt and focus on your family finances to make do with the perfectly suitable TV you already have!
March 21, 2022 / Blog
Easy Ways To Reconnect With Loved Ones After Covid
The pandemic has been tough on family relationships and friendships. Here are four fun and easy ways to help you reconnect with loved ones:
- Host a family reunion: Start planning a family reunion now that restrictions have lifted and life is returning to normal. Organise it in a community hall, a favourite park, or even your backyard. Set a date far in advance and make it a regular event. It's a great way to reconnect with family members you don't see often.
- Start a club: If you missed seeing friends, there's no better way to reconnect than to start a meet-up group for a fun social activity. Book clubs quickly come to mind, but what about bowling, movie, dancing, painting and cooking groups. The most important thing is to find an activity that you'll all enjoy and schedule it regularly.
- Sweets Exchange: A sweets exchange (cookies, biscuits, cakes and more) is a fab way to share your sweet speciality with others while enjoying tasty treats. Arrange for a group of family and friends to bake their favourite sweets once a month, package as care packages including the recipe, and then share them. You'll end up with a bounty of goodies that will make your tastebuds tingle and feel warm and fuzzy knowing they're baked with love!
- Write a letter: We all have a favourite story or childhood memory, so why not pen it in a letter to family and friends. A terrific way to record special memories and bring joy and nostalgia to your recipients. At the end of the letter, ask them to reply with their own favourite story or memory.
These are just some of the many ways to keep in touch with family and friends. However you choose to reconnect, the most important thing is to 'just do it' as staying connected with loved ones is simply good for the soul!
March 14, 2022 / Blog
20 Weird & Wonderful Facts About Australia
We all know that Australia is home to wide-open spaces, diversity, multiculturalism, and some of the deadliest snakes and spiders! Here is a list of some weird and wonderful Aussie facts that may surprise you!
- Australia is the only continent that does not have an active volcano.
- Australia has three times more sheep than people.
- Each year, the Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
- 90% of Australians live on the coast
- Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest ecosystem.
- Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island.
- The Indian Pacific railway boasts the world's longest length of straight rail track.
- The Great Ocean Road is the longest war memorial in the world.
- 2.5km of Uluru is underground
- 80% of the animals that call Australia home are unique to Oz
- The world championships of cockroach racing are held in Brisbane every year.
- After Athens, Greece, Melbourne has the world's largest Greek community.
- An Aussie man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay.
- In 1902, Australia became the second country to allow women to vote.
- Canberra became the capital of Australia after Sydney and Melbourne wouldn't stop arguing between them about which city should be the capital.
- Australia is home to the longest fence, a staggering 5,614km long.
- Australia produces approximately 1.35 trillion bottles of wine each year.
- Australians spend more money on gambling per capita than any other country.
- If you visit a new beach every day in Australia, it will take you 27 years to see all of them.
March 7, 2022 / Blog
5 Ways To Keep Your Family Healthy At Home
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is the importance of our health. For many of us, it has caused work, school, and family time and space to overlap at home. Therefore, it is more important than ever to prioritise your family's physical, emotional and mental well-being. The good news is that there are plenty of simple things that you can implement within the home that will help to keep your family healthy and happy.
Here are some of our favourite suggestions:
- Move: Being active as a family is not only great for your physical well-being, but also for connecting as a family unit. It is also a wonderful way to combat anxiety and relieve stress. There are many simple activities that you can do as a family from going on a hike, bike-riding, swimming, playing tennis and cricket or hitting the local skate or basketball court.
- Eat well and stay hydrated: Making sure that your family has a balanced and nourishing diet is vital for their ongoing health but also for their brain function. It is of equal importance that you ensure that your family stays well hydrated. Water has a significant impact on a person’s energy levels, brain function and general health so it is essential that your family is getting enough H2O.
- Bedtime routine is essential: It’s essential to get enough sleep to have enough stamina and energy to get through the day. A regular bedtime routine will help you achieve this.
- Reduce and restrict screen time: Learning to put down the phone and shut down the devices is critical to promoting quality family time. Making time each day for a digital detox will improve not only your mood but also your emotional and mental well-being.
- Communication is key: These days it seems like everyone communicates via social media or text. Make good old fashion communication part of your family’s daily routine. Make time each day to spend time as a family and to discuss the events of the day. Dinner is a great time to unpack how each family member is feeling, but if dinner is not an option, then get creative – go for a family walk or a drive. However, you make it happen doesn’t matter - just do it!
February 7, 2022 / Blog
Loving lay-by – why lay-by really is a smart way to shop
One of the easiest and smartest ways to shop is to use lay-by. In a world where buy-now-pay-later programs are becoming increasingly popular, it is easy to forget the true benefits of good old fashion lay-by.
If you’re a preplanner on a budget, then lay-by is the perfect shopping fit for you. It allows you to put aside what you need or want with a small deposit and then pay it off in affordable instalments over a period. And the best part is that there are no credit card interest charges!
When you are looking at your year ahead and expenses that might be coming up, like the holiday season, birthdays, graduations or even the dryer that might be on its last legs, you should consider using lay-by as a purchase choice. You can even use it to prepare for holiday entertaining. Here at Chrisco, we offer a huge number of options that can help you get ready for any significant occasion and pay it off in affordable instalments. If you want to discover all that Chrisco has to offer visit www.chrisco.com.au or call us directly on 1800 830 830.
Being organised and using lay-by as a way of shopping can really help you to stick to a budget, live within your means, avoid using credit cards and reduce your stress levels.
If you’re not yet convinced that lay-by really is the smart way to shop, then here are a few more benefits that lay-by offers shoppers:
- You can put aside Christmas gifts and other significant purchases that may be out of stock by the time you have saved up to buy them, ensuring that no one misses out on anything on their ‘wish list’.
- Unlike with credit cards, if you don’t make a monthly payment, it won’t affect your credit rating.
- You can beat the holiday rush and get organised early to avoid the Christmas shopping stampede.
- The shop holds the goods for you, which means that they are safe from the prying eyes of snooping children.
Lay-by is a handy way to shop, ensuring that you can meet all your purchasing needs in a budget friendly, affordable, manageable way.
February 3, 2022 / Blog
Leftover makeovers – 6 ways to reinvent what you have in the fridge
One of our greatest household expenses is groceries. Not only to we tend to spend a lot of our hard-earned cash on food, but we also have huge amounts of wastage. Not only is this bad for the budget but bad for the environment as well. A great way not only to save money but also reduce your family's carbon footprint is to “make over” your leftovers.
Here are some of our favourite tips, tricks and hacks that will enable you to reinvent what you have in your fridge.
Freeze extra yogurt for smoothies: If you have any scraps left over in the yogurt tub or have yogurt that is about to expire, then scoop the leftovers into an ice-cube tray and pop them in the freezer. These can be pulled out later and added to a smoothie for extra flavour and goodness.
Add leftovers to salads: If you have small amounts of foods like pasta, chickpeas or quinoa, then why not add them to your next salad? This is an inexpensive way to bulk out a meal.
Make rice bowls: Add left over protein such as BBQ chicken, fish or turkey to some cooked rice, canned beans and chopped leftover salad ingredients and you have made your very own Chipotle-style burrito bowl.
Turn pizza into panini: Sometimes leftover pizza can be a bit sad and rubbery, but this is no reason to throw it in the bin. Simply take two pieces of pizza, spread some shredded cheese between them, put them together, pop them in the sandwich press and, voila, you have just transformed last night’s pizza into tonight’s panini.
With a little bit of creativity there is no knowing what culinary delights you can create from leftovers, so stop wasting food and money, stop ordering takeaway and look inside your fridge for inspiration – you will be surprised at what you can create using what you already have!
January 27, 2022 / Blog
Fun, fabulous things that you can do to spread the love this Valentine’s Day
Whilst Valentine’s Day is often associated with romantic love, it can also be a special occasion that you can share with the whole family. It's an opportunity to teach your family about the importance of caring for others, and a time where you can reinforce to them just how much you love them.
Forget the red roses and Hallmark cards. Whether you want to spoil your love interest, show your parents how much you love them or surprise the kids, there are an abundance of things that you can do to spread the love come February 14th.
Valentine’s Day really is for everyone!
Make a “20 things I love about you” jar: Get a notepad and start writing the 20, 30, 40, 50 (or however many you choose) things that you love most about your valentine. Fold each note and place it in a glass jar and decorate it with ribbons. This simple yet thoughtful gesture is literally a jar full of love.
Create a customised play list: Nothing says “I love you” more than a selection of all your favourite tunes. Put some thought into your valentine's favourite tracks and songs that mark special occasions for you or your family and put them together to make a customised playlist.
Send your valentine on a scavenger hunt: This is a fun activity for all ages. Simply leave your valentine a scattering of handwritten notes and clues that will lead them to a gift or surprise. If gift giving is your love language, then this one is for you.
Cook something special: Whether it’s a romantic meal for two or a family dinner, there is no better way to show someone you love them than by sharing a beautiful feast together. Create a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner comprised of all your valentine’s favourite foods and then add some special touches such as rose petals or heart shaped chocolates to the table for extra festivity and fun.
January 25, 2022 / Blog
Summer Loving – fun things to do with the family this summertime
There is something about summer that sends out happy vibes. After a busy end of year and hectic Christmas, summer symbolises a time to relax, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and good weather and spend time with love ones. You don’t need to go on a fancy holiday or spend a fortune to make the most out of summer – there are an abundance of simple activities that you can do that will keep you entertained.
Here are 30 of our top suggestions of fun things that you can do with family or friends this summer:
- Visit an amusement park
- Take a road trip
- Try out a new cuisine
- Do a random act of kindness
- Grow your own veggies
- Go star gazing
- Make a summer playlist
- Have a sunset picnic
- Fly a kite
- Learn to surf
- Go somewhere that you have never been before
- Hit the beach
- Become a master chef by trying out new recipe ideas
- Be a tourist in your own city
- Visit an art gallery or museum
- Camp out in your backyard
- Get up early and watch the sun rise
- Visit your local aquarium
- Go bike riding somewhere special
- Learn to juggle
- Watch a movie at an outdoor cinema or create your own outdoor cinema at home
- Go on a scavenger hunt with friends
- Run through the sprinklers
- Attend an outdoor concert
- Have a water balloon fight
- Visit a farmers’ market
- Make homemade lemonade from scratch
- Go stand up paddle boarding
- Set up a slip and slide and get the soap suds ready
- Host the ULTIMATE BBQ!
January 24, 2022 / Blog
New Year, New You – How to get the most out of 2022
There is no better time than a new year to overhaul your lifestyle and make some simple changes that will have you thinking, feeling and even looking better.
Here are our top suggestions for making the most out of 2022.
Eat clean: Eating well does not have to be complicated or restrictive. Small changes such as adding an extra serve of veggies to the daily menu or making sure that you drink enough water will see your body benefit in the long run. Remember, it’s not what you do some of the time, but what you do most of the time that counts.
Move more: You don’t need to join a gym or run a marathon, just make a commitment to yourself that you are going to move your body more this year. It can be a walk with the dog, a swim with a friend or even a dance class. Find a way to get moving that you enjoy and then stick with it.
Get more sleep: A good night’s sleep is fundamental to good health and your general well-being but it is also one of the things that busy people don’t get enough of. Getting regular, quality sleep needs to be a priority, so set a regular routine that ensures that you get enough shut eye.
Plan: Being organised relieves stress and allows you to enjoy life more without having to deal with last minute chaos. Make 2022 the year that you become a pre planner. Plot your year ahead, write lists, create realistic schedules and make and stick to a budget. You will be surprised at how much of your mental load is reduced when you are organised.
Celebrate the small things: It is so easy to get caught up in the treadmill of life that we forget to be present in the moment and enjoy the small things. Take a moment each day to think of something that you are grateful for and write it down. Life is short, so remember to celebrate the good bits.
January 21, 2022 / Blog
How to keep the family entertained these summer holidays
The summer holidays are long, and after a big year it can be a bit of a challenge to work out ways to keep the kids (and the big kids) entertained without having to take out a second mortgage.
Here are 5 low cost, family friendly suggestions that will keep the family happy and us parents sane.
- Go on a picnic: We are so lucky in Australia that we have so many glorious parks and open spaces and the weather is usually good which allows us to enjoy some outdoor fun. Gather up a group of family or friends, grab a picnic basket, some cricket bats and head to your favourite beach or park and make the most of the great outdoors.
- Host an outdoor movie night: Backyard projectors have become increasingly affordable. Fences or clotheslines with sheets on the side or the house or garage door make great screens. Pop some popcorn in the microwave and put some comfy cushions in the backyard and in no time at all you will be enjoying your very own outdoor cinema experience.
- Slip and slide fun: You can purchase an actual slip and slide or you can DIY it and use a tarp, a hose and a bottle of dishwashing liquid to create your own outdoor entertainment. You will be surprised at the hours of fun that this simple backyard set up can provide.
- Host an “Amazing Race”: Get creative and plan your very own amazing race full of challenges, problem solving, clues and fun activities that will get all the kids thinking, moving and having fun.
- Be a tourist in your own city: Start exploring. There is so much to see and do in your own home town that you often take for granted. Take a bus into the city, visit an art gallery or museum, go for a walk in a national park or visit an historical monument.
January 21, 2022 / Blog
How to sort your finances out for the new year
If you are feeling a bit sick about the state of your finances and are struggling to juggle paying off Christmas spending, then perhaps it is time to start thinking about how you want to do things differently. A new year means a fresh start and an opportunity to rethink your spending habits as well as the chance to establish a well-planned budget for the year ahead that will help you to reach your financial goals.
Here are some great tips on preparing your budget this next year
- Revisit your debts and bills: Take a good hard look at all your credit card bills, bank statements and expenses that you incurred over the last year. Write down how much you have spent and work out a projection for the coming year. Look at any credit cards or loans that you have and do a comparison check to make sure that you are getting the best rate.
- Reduce your expenses: There is always a way to trim the fat and reduce your expenses. Make a list of all the ways that you can reduce your spending in the new year. It might be as simple as reducing the number of take away meals you get or taking your own lunch to work. As the old saying goes… “If you look after the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves.”
- Keep a written record of your income and your spending: It is easy to lose track of where your money goes, so that is why the key to sticking to any budget plan is to keep a tight record of everything that comes in and everything that goes out. Once you start recording your income and spending habits, you will become a lot more aware of frivolous spending and you will hold yourself far more accountable.
- Set a budget that is realistic and then commit to sticking to it: There is no point in setting a budget that you won’t be able to follow, so it is far better to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Establish a budget that you can realistically adhere to and then commit to sticking to it – even when buying that “must have” pair of shoes that is so tempting.
- Establish a “Rainy Day” fund: No matter how well you budget and plan, life can always throw you a curve ball, and that is why it is so important to have an emergency stash that will take the pain out of any unforeseen expenses.
January 21, 2022 / Blog
Starting the new year, the right way
Lose weight, cut down on alcohol, join a gym … sound familiar? Every year we make and, so often, break the same old new year’s resolutions. This year, let's mix it up a bit and look at making different kinds of new-year goals that will not only make you feel great but might also add a bit of happiness to those around you.
Here are our top 22 new year’s resolutions that will help you to make 2022 your best year yet:
- Work out to feel better not to get thinner
- Give out one compliment every day
- Start a gratitude journal
- Clear out the clutter
- Cut down on waste and reduce your carbon footprint
- Volunteer or do some charity work
- Go somewhere you have never been before
- Read more
- Cut down on screen time
- Don’t buy things that you don’t need
- Take control of your finances
- Remove toxic people from your life
- Try a different recipe each week
- Be kind on social media
- Spend more time in nature
- Make your bed every single morning
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Talk less and listen more
- Listen and be guided by your gut
- Be kinder to yourself
- Spot clean as you go
- Whatever your goals are – write them down and do them!
Whether you choose one resolution or 22, the idea is to set goals that will really evoke long lasting positive change in your life. Forget changing how you look and focus on changing how you feel – the results will astound you. And remember that it’s what you do most of the time, not all the time, that really matters!
December 16, 2021 / Blog
Christmas in the 80s
The festive seasons tends to make even the most hardened Christmas grinch a bit sentimental and nostalgic, which is why it makes it the perfect time for a little walk down memory lane.
That’s why we thought it would be fun to do a throwback to the 1980s and reminisce about what Christmas was like back in the day when hair was big, makeup was bright and leg warmers were a fashion stable.
Here are some fun facts from Christmas 80s style …
- Anything neon was a hit
- Forget Ebay and Amazon. Back in the 80s you would circle the gifts you wanted in an actual catalogue
- Christmas morning was not complete without cartoons
- You didn’t buy a Cabbage Patch doll - you ‘adopted’ one
- After dinner, mints made an appearance on every Christmas table
- The go-to hostess gift was either ‘Sewing’ box biscuits or marzipan in the shape of fruit
- People would layby gifts, not buy now pay later
- If you got a Sony Walkman from Santa, you knew you were on the ‘good’ list
- The movie Die Hard became a Christmas classic
- Devilled eggs, cob loaf dip, vol-au-vents, cubed cheese, and cabanossi were Christmas party favourites
- Christmas was not complete if it didn’t involve a Rubik’s cube competition
- Fake silver Christmas trees were all the rage
- You could count on being given at least one board game and it could be anything from Trivial Pursuit to Operation
- Scrunchies made their debut as a hair accessory
- Christmas drinks would always involve a bowl of punch for the adults and either TAB or Mello Yello for the kids
- Forget smart phones in the 80s - all you wanted for Christmas was a Game Boy
- You would listen to Christmas music on your boombox
- Camcorders made sure that you had VHS footage of all the Christmas day fashion fails
Without a doubt the 80s were a great time – especially at Christmas. It’s great to see some classic 80s Christmas classics like Cob dip and scrunchies making a comeback!
December 15, 2021 / Blog
What treats to leave out for Santa this Christmas eve?
We all know that here in Australia, when Santa comes calling on Christmas Eve, he likes nothing more than a cold beer and some biscuits (it gets hot in that suit in the Aussie heat). The reindeers are partial to some carrots and appreciate a bowl of water to rehydrate after their trip around the globe.
But did you know that, depending on what country he is delivering to, Santa gets different treats along the way?
In the United States, many children leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa, whilst others deviate from tradition and like to leave the man in red some pizza (might explain for the growing belly).
In Ireland, Santa gets a pint of Guinness on Christmas Eve. Children usually leave the cold beer next to the tree to give good old Saint Nick a quick pick me up for the long night ahead.
In the United Kingdom it's mince pies and sherry that is left to help warm up Mr Clause and ward off the bleak British weather.
In some countries, they don’t believe that reindeers pull Santa’s sleigh but rather that it is whisked around the world by horses. In Argentina, the Netherlands and Belgium, it's tradition to leave out hay and water, and sometimes carrots to help Santa’s horses on their way.
In Denmark, poor Julemanden (The Danish term for Santa) gets no treats, but the children do leave out bowls of rice pudding for the elves.
In Iceland, Christmas extends over 26 days, and they have 13 different ‘Santa’ like figures who deliver treats and gifts to the kids during this period. In appreciation, children like to leave out an Icelandic treat called laufabrauo which tastes like a crispy wafer.
In Germany, instead of Santa they have a Christmas Angel “Christkind”. Instead of leaving snacks on Christmas eve, children leave handwritten notes decorated with sparkles and drawings for the angel. In the morning the letters are gone, and gifts are in their place.
Kids all over the world have different ways of showing Santa that they are grateful, so whether it’s a stubby of VB, a mince pie or a little note – the most important thing is that you let the big fella know that you appreciate him!
December 8, 2021 / Blog
How to avoid conflict at Christmas
We are all guilty of having the fairy-tale image of Christmas spent laughing jovially with family and friends whilst the children play happily with their gifts. The reality is that Christmas can be a frantic time for many people. Between the shopping, cooking, working, school holidays and budget worries, the festive season can leave people feeling anxious, exhausted, and stressed. Because of this, many people find that, instead of being a picture-perfect scene of family bliss, it can often be a battleground for conflict.
The good news is, if you recognise that your family might be candidates for a conflict driven Christmas, there are some things that you can do both ahead of time and on the day to avoid potential drama.
Here are a few suggestions on how to avoid conflict this Christmas.
- Take a moment: When you start to feel your anxiety flaring up, take a moment to calm yourself. If someone is starting to get on your nerves, walk into another room for a few moments or try counting to 10 slowly in your head. Take a moment to breathe and reset before you react.
- Know your triggers: Once you recognise who and what cause your emotions to trigger, then you can minimise your exposure to them. Limiting your time surrounded by triggers is not shirking responsibility but rather preventing potential upset.
- Pre-empt and prevent feeling badly done by: Don’t be a martyr or try to be a superhuman. Instead of trying to do everything yourself and later resenting it, set people certain tasks for what they can do to contribute and help. This will reduce the risk of you feeling frustrated and help the day to run more smoothly.
- Don’t open a Pandora’s Box: Every family has unresolved, underlying issues that are simmering just beneath the surface. Christmas is not the time to try and resolve them. The combination of stress and alcohol can be a breeding ground for the resurfacing of long-standing resentments. Christmas is not the time or place to bring up the past!
- Make everyone share one happy family memory: Christmas is a time for celebrating family so go around the table and ask everyone to recount a happy family memory that they have. You will be surprised by what a positive ambience this simple ritual creates. Share the good times together and Christmas will bring joy to you all.
December 7, 2021 / Blog
The 10 best Christmas songs of all time ... according to Chrisco!
According to the Guinness Book of records “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales more than 50 million worldwide. Now, who doesn’t love a bit of Bing Crosby? “White Christmas” is certainly one of the top Christmas tunes of all times.
What is your favourite Christmas jam?
There have been so many awesome festive favourites over the years that it is hard to choose the top 10, but the team here at Chrisco have put together a list of our top favourite Christmas songs and the reason why we love them so much.
Let the countdown begin …
#10 “Do they Know it’s Christmas Time,” Bandaid: This charity supergroup featuring a cast of pop icons from George Michael to Sting raised not only awareness but also much needed funds to help the famine in Ethiopia. Great song and great cause!
#9 “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” Frank Sinatra (feat. B. Swanson Quartet): This one makes the list purely for the fun fact that it was written during a massive heatwave back in 1946!
#8 “Feliz Navidad,” Jose Feliciano: We love that this Christmas classic, which is sung partially in Spanish, only made the top hits list two decades after it was first released – talk about a comeback!
#7 “Mistletoe,” Justine Bieber: This catchy melody adds a touch of romance to Christmas - you can’t help but smile when you listen to it.
#6 “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Andy Williams: Listening to this simply reminds you what Christmas is really about – family, friends and of course tales of the glories of Christmas from long, long ago.
#5 “Last Christmas,” Wham! If you love a corny 80s Christmas love song, then you will agree with us that you can’t go past this Wham classic – George Michael at his best. If you want a laugh, watch the music video!
#4 “Jingle Bell Rock,” Bobby Helms: What we love about this classic Christmas hit is that it’s just so happy – it puts you into a bright festive mood in an instant.
#3 “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas,” Michael Bublé: Who can resist the orchestral, retro feel of this beloved (all be it a bit cheesy) Canadian crooner?
#2 “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee: Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit more than this sentimental favourite with its distinctly catchy country/western vibe. It will have you quite literally rockin’ around the tree before you can say “Santa Clause”!
And at #1, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You”: It takes out the top spot and is so universally popular that every December it re-enters the Billboards Hot 100. Would Christmas be complete without a bit on M.C.?
December 6, 2021 / Blog
How to decorate your house for Christmas on a budget!
We all know that Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year. If you want to get your home in the festive spirit without spending a fortune, here are some ideas that will make your home look gorgeous without breaking the bank.
- Light it up: Fairy lights give you a lot of decorating bang for your buck. They are relatively inexpensive and, if stored correctly, can last for years using them both indoors and outdoors. Don’t restrict the use of fairy lights to the Christmas tree. They can be used around mirrors and artwork, on staircases and in plants and trees to create a fantastically festive feel.
- Decorate branches: Go to your local park and find a small tree branch, one preferably with lots of offshoots. Put this in a vase and decorate it with Christmas baubles or home-made decorations. You will be surprised at how impressive it will look. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you can spray paint the branch silver or gold to add that extra sparkle.
- Wrap your artwork: You have no idea how fun and fabulous it looks to wrap your artwork. Take some art off the walls and carefully gift wrap it with Christmas paper and ribbons and then re hang it on the wall. Your home will look like a department store in no time. This cheap and cheerful Christmas decorating hack is one of the coolest you will ever try!
- Candy cane galore: Fill a glass jar or vase with either red and white or multi coloured candy canes and use them as decorations throughout the house. The best part is that this decoration is edible!
- Buy your decorations in the sales: Post Christmas sales are the best and are the perfect time to stock up on our Christmas decorations for next year. Planning ahead and buying discounted items will save you a fortune and will ensure that you have the best decorated house on the block.
November 23, 2021 / Blog
Be a preplanner – what you can so this year to make next year’s Christmas easier
There is a lot to be said for being a pre planner – especially when it comes to Christmas. If you are not already super organised for Christmas this year, you might have missed the boat, but don’t fear - you can already start preplanning for next year’s Christmas. Sounds crazy, but you'd have no idea how much time, money, and stress you will save yourself by embracing preplanning.
Here are some things that you can start to do this year to make next year’s Christmas easier…
- Shop the sales: Boxing Day sales are the perfect picking ground to snap up heavily discounted gifts for next year. It’s also the perfect time to buy Christmas wrapping, cards and decorations as everything is marked down.
- Make a list and set a schedule: Write down all the shopping and things that you need to do for next Christmas and set a schedule allocating tasks throughout the year. Spreading the Christmas joy over 12 months certainly takes away any last-minute stress.
- Do a Christmas debrief: Look at how this year’s Christmas goes and make a note of what worked well, what didn’t, areas you could have cut back, and any wastage that you could prevent in the future. Hindsight is a marvellous gift, so it’s very helpful to learn from this Christmas so that next Christmas you can trim the fat and make the day even more special.
- Make travel/holiday plans: If Christmas next year is going to be out of town or if you are planning on a Christmas holiday, then take advantage of reduced rates by booking in early. Many sites offer free cancellation and no deposit bookings when booking ahead, so make your plans and lock them in to make the most of early-bird discounts.
- Start Planning now: No one knows the benefit of being organised for Christmas more than us here at Chrisco. Our aim has always been to take the financial sting out of events such as Christmas, allowing our customers to enjoy all the luxuries without a one-off big outlay. Our system of paying off your Christmas needs and treats throughout the year ensures that your family gets all their favourites with the benefit of you being able to customise the cost to your budget and pay it off throughout the year. Chrisco’s 2022 catalogues are out now, so visit www.chrisco.com.au to check them out and to start planning the perfect Christmas for 2022.
November 18, 2021 / Blog
Christmas countdown ... How to plan a stress-free Christmas
The countdown is officially on, and Christmas is just around the corner. As much as most of us love the festive season, there is no doubt that it can be stressful and expensive. If you feel like Christmas is sneaking up on you like the Grinch in the night, here are some helpful tips to help you sidestep some of the stress!
- Make a list: This might sound simple but never underestimate the positive power of planning. Writing lists is a terrific way to get everything that is swirling in your head onto paper which then allows you to break what needs to be done into manageable chunks. You will find that by organising what needs to be done into achievable lists you will feel far more prepared, and your anxiety will decrease.
- Set a budget: Again, this might sound simple and setting a budget is relatively easy, but it's sticking to it that is the hard part. Once you have made your lists, you need to work out a reasonable and manageable budget and commit to sticking to it. It’s always a good idea to account for the unexpected and factor this into your budget.
- Plan your menu: You would have now made your list and set your budget, so you are now able to plan your menu. Be clever when planning your meals and factor in being creative with leftovers. If you are entertaining, or if you are going to someone else’s house, also think ahead about what you will need. Being organised with food will not only save you time and money, but it also reduces stress and is better for the environment.
- Look after yourself: There will be little joy for anyone come Christmas day if you are a frazzled mess, so make sure that you are kind to yourself in the lead up to the day and schedule in some down time for yourself. Remember, it's ok to say no if you are feeling overwhelmed – you have no obligation to accept every invitation. Looking after yourself and not burning the candle at both ends will help you enjoy the holidays!
November 17, 2021 / Blog
Why planning is so important to keep your family’s finances on track
The key to keeping your family’s finances on track is a simple trick called budgeting! The substantial advantages of planning your family’s financial future far outweigh the time cost in both the short and long term. Here are some of the benefits of carefully planning your family’s finances.
- Budgeting is key to helping you achieve your long-term financial goals. Think of your budget as a map that will help you get to your desired location. Setting criteria for your spending habits will allow you to live within your means and work towards your goals.
- By planning your spending habits, you are preventing yourself from spending what you don’t have and ensuring that you live within your means. Discretionary spending can really derail you from achieving your financial goals, so by planning your spending ahead of time you are removing the risk of spending more than you have.
- Life is full of surprises, and you never know when the unexpected could occur. If you are keeping a tight track of your finances, you would have factored in an emergency fund that will ease the stress if an unexpected expense occurs.
- Keeping track of your finances and sticking to a budget forces you to analyse and be accountable for your spending habits. It will also help you to identify any bad spending habits and allow you to rectify these. When you shine the spotlight on your spending you can identify the cost/benefit of your spending, and this can assist you to rethink the way you spend money and will allow you to re-evaluate your financial objectives for the future.
- The importance of planning your financial future will become more evident in later life. Setting aside a portion of your income for retirement will help you build your ‘nest egg’. The more you plan for your retirement the greater chance that you will enjoy it!
October 15, 2021 / Blog
Spring into savings with these clever budgeting tips
The weather is getting warmer and, with Christmas fast approaching, spring is the perfect time to look at how you can save some money by following these very simple yet very clever budgeting tips!
Have a spring clean:
You know the old saying that someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure, so why not turn your unwanted items into extra cash? Spring is the perfect time to do a declutter of your wardrobe, your kitchen, and the rest of our house. You will be surprised what you might find and what people are willing to pay for your unwanted goods. Either sell online or have a good old fashioned garage sale.
Cut down on appliance usage:
There are so many ways that you can cut back on your energy consumption and save money in the process. Turn the power off appliances when they are not being used, turn off the lights, line dry your clothes and only use your dishwasher and washing machines for full loads during off peak periods. A few small tweaks to your energy consumption habits can save you a pretty penny over the long term.
Shop smart and meal plan with overlapping ingredients:
One of our greatest expenses is our grocery bill but it is also one of the easiest ways to (excuse the pun) trim some fat! Pre plan your meals for the week and look at setting a menu that allows you to use overlapping ingredients. Never shop without a list and never shop when hungry. Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables can be an excellent inexpensive replacement for their fresh counterparts. Plan your meals around what ingredients are in season to keep costs down, and cut down on waste by turning last night’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunches.
Streamline your subscriptions:
After binging on Netflix throughout winter and lockdown, spring is now the perfect time to go through all your subscriptions and do a digital detox. By cutting back on some subscriptions and streaming services, you will be surprised at the difference this will make to your monthly budget. As the weather gets warmer and restrictions start to lift, replace the remote with an outdoor activity – not only will you feel physically better, but your bank balance will improve too!
October 7, 2021 / Blog
How to reduce food waste to save money and boost your family’s health!
Australia throws out 2.5 million tonnes of edible food each year - that’s the equivalent of throwing out one in five bags of groceries. Not only is this bad for the environment but, in a world where people are going hungry, it’s hard to comprehend such waste, not to mention the amount of money that we could be saving by simply cutting back.
Here are some practical ways that you can reduce food waste that will not only save you money and improve your family’s health, but also make a positive impact on the environment.
1. Plan your meals
A bit of planning will not only save you time and money, but it will also ensure that you are providing your family with a balanced diet.
2. Reuse ingredients
When planning your meals for the week look at selecting a menu that uses similar ingredients so that you can use them in more than one meal. For example, mince can be used for spaghetti bolognaise for one dinner and tacos for another.
3. Do a pantry, freezer, and fridge overhaul
Clean out your cupboards, check expiration dates and use up anything that might be nearing the end of its shelf life.
4. Replace takeaway with leftovers
When cooking meals like soups and casseroles, make sure that you freeze any extra portions. By doing this you can simply reheat them for an easy meal, eliminating the need to order expensive and calorific takeaway.
5. Shop with a list
When you go shopping, make sure that you have a detailed list and stick to it. Resist the urge to impulse buy as most of the time those items that you buy for fun end up being unhealthy or not consumed.
6. Perfect portions
Resisting the urge to over cater and preparing the right amount of food is one of the best ways to save money and reduce food waste whilst simultaneously ensuring that your family is not overeating.
October 5, 2021 / Blog
6 benefits of meal prepping
You will be amazed at how much more smoothly your life will be when you discover the art of meal prepping. Here are six reasons that will convince you that meal prepping is a must:
1.You will save time
Meal prepping will literally save you hours of work each week. Instead of wasting time trying to work out what to cook, what ingredients you have or whether to get take away, meal prepping ensures that you have a delicious meal waiting for you come dinner time.
2.You will save money
People believe the misconception that heathy eating must be expensive. Meal prepping proves that eating well can be done on any budget. Meal prepping also puts a stop to the need for last minute supermarket dashes and expensive takeaways.
3.You will reduce wastage
Being organised and planning your weekly meals means that you are only buying what you need and reduces leftovers going in the bin.
4.You will reduce stress
Being organised as far as your weekly meals does take away a lot of the stress of cooking. It is one less thing you must think about, and the bonus of saving money is sure to ease the budget.
5.You will manage portion sizes better
There is no better way to control your portion sizes than meal prepping. It is the perfect way control your calories, which will most definitely benefit the waist line.
6.You will eat healthier
Meal prepping can help to prevent impulse eating. If you plan and prepare your meals ahead of time, then you will always have a tasty, healthy option on tap, which will help you resist the urge to raid the cookie jar.
October 1, 2021 / Blog
How to save cash in lockdown and beyond
Covid has changed things a lot, including the way we are spending our money. With more people working from home, staying home instead of eating out, and Netflix binging instead of going to the movies, lockdown can be an opportunity to save some money and develop some better financial habits that can be of benefit throughout lockdown and beyond. Here are some ways that you can save some cash during lockdown:
Review or start a budget
With all the changes happening in our world, it has never been more important to be take control of your finances. Take a good look at your spending habits and look where you can make improvements. There are heaps of apps that are available that can help you create and stick to a budget.
Chase refunds for services that you can’t use
Don’t be afraid to ask for a refund or even a credit for services that you are unable to use. You can always put things like gym memberships on hold and ask for extensions for vouchers or refunds.
Create extra income
All of us have clothes we never wear, shoes that are gathering dust and household gadgets sitting idle in the cupboard. Lockdown is the perfect time to do a spring clean and sell unwanted items online. Not only are you decluttering, you are also bringing in extra cash!
Review bills and subscriptions
Do you really need Spotify, iTunes and Google Play music? Look at what you are spending in terms of bills and subscriptions and see if you can trim some fat. This one change could potentially save you hundreds of dollars every year.
Look at what utilities you are using and where you can make some savings. Small things like hanging out the washing instead of using the dryer, only putting on a full dishwasher and turning off lights can add up in the long term.
Shop around for insurance
Insurance is expensive, so it’s a good idea to price compare. You might not necessarily save money, but you might find that you can get more bang for your buck.
Saving money is not easy and requires discipline but it can be done. Taking care of the small things can reap great reward in the long run.
September 10, 2021 / Blog
How to prepare for Christmas early – 7 tips for getting festive ready
Most people leave it until December before they start prepping for Christmas. This can not only be stressful, but it can also be expensive. There are lots of things that you can do during the year that will help you save time and money and help reduce stress.
Here are 7 tips for getting festive ready before December!
- Create and stick to a Christmas budget: The first thing when preparing for the onslaught of the festive season is to work out your budget. This needs to include everything from gifts, to decorations, food, drink, entertaining as well as emergency funds for any last-minute surprises.
- Start saving: Once you have worked out a realistic Christmas budget, the next step is to work out how much you need to put away each week or month to cover your budget and then start saving!
- Layby: This is one of the best ways you can possibly prepare for the festive season. Layby is a terrific way to buy gifts throughout the year and pay them off over time. Here at Chrisco, we are committed to helping people to create the perfect Christmas without extra financial pain or stress. If you want to discover all that Chrisco has to offer, view our catalogues here or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to see what Chrisco has to offer.
- Sort through your décor and decorations: Before you buy anything new, look first at what you have. Reusing, repurposing and recycling are great ways to save money and make the most of what you already have.
- Plan what’s on the menu: A great way to relieve extra stress is to plan what you will be feeding the family over the festive season. Preparing a menu in advance is simply another thing that you can tick off the ‘to do’ list early.
- Reflect on last Christmas: Think about last Christmas and work out how you can make the next one even more awesome.
- Make freezer meals for December: To prevent last minute takeaway meals or extra work, stock the freezer ahead of time with delicious, portioned meals that all the family will enjoy and that will keep you out of the kitchen.
August 31, 2021 / Blog
The Beauty of Budgeting
Too many people think of “budgeting” as a dirty word, when really it is simply a super handy tool that helps you to keep your finances on the right track!
If you are someone that has not budgeted before or are perhaps a bit of a part time/ dodgy budgeter … here are some tips that will help you to get a better grasp as to how you are spending your money and how you can positively improve your spending habits.
Get over the terminology
Just like the word diet, the word budget seems to evoke negativity when in fact it should be looked at as a positive tool that will help you to achieve financial freedom. Unless you are in the fortunate position to have unlimited resources then without a budget you will never get ahead – so get over the terminology!
Start with your basic bills
The first place to start when working out a personal budget is with your basic expenditure – your bills. This includes things that are a given such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and anything else that is a regular cost. Write down your average weekly/monthly annual expenditure on bills. Knowing where your money is going is your first step in the right direction to beneficial budgeting.
Look beyond the basics
Once you have got your basics covered look at additional expenses that you incur. These are the variable items in your budget and include things such as entertainment, gifts, beauty, clothing, and lifestyle choices such as gym memberships or yoga classes. These are the expenses that you can do without and that can be easily eliminated if your cash flow does not stretch far enough. Part of proper budgeting is learning to exert some discipline over this non-basics expenditure. If you're low on cash, then don’t order takeaway or buy those shoes on eBay.
Analyse your income
The next step to mastering budgeting is looking at how much you are earning. Ideally you want this figure to be greater than that of your expenses. If you are spending more than you are earning, then it’s the time to review your expenditures and look to cut back on things that are not considered to be necessities. Another idea is to see if it is possible to expand your earning capacity. Are you able to apply for a raise, work some extra shifts or get a side gig that will bring in a little extra cash each week?
Decide on a plan
The good news is that it is not too difficult to get your finances in order and organise a budget. The key to success however is exercising some discipline and restraint and sticking with the plan. Put pen to paper and work out what you have coming in and what you have going out and where you need to cut back. As a rule, it is a good idea to have a rainy-day fund set aside that can cover three months’ worth of basic expenses in case of an emergency.
August 16, 2021 / Blog
Pantry overhaul – tips and tricks to get your pantry festive ready
Never does your kitchen get more use than during the festive season, when most of us are cooking up a storm. To ensure that your Christmas is as stress-free as possible, it is a good idea to give your pantry a mid-year overall to get it festive ready.
Here are five tips that will help you to reorganise your panty in preparation for the holiday season!
- Empty and clean the pantry: Before you begin reorganising your pantry, you first need to give it a good old-fashioned deep clean. Empty it out completely and get busy with the spray and wipe.
- Toss out any expired food and donate anything that you are not going to use: As you restock your now clean pantry, check expiration dates and get rid of anything that is off. Also, look at what you are putting back into your pantry, and decide whether it is something that you are going to use - if it’s not, then pass it on to someone who will!
- Organise by category: A great way to organise your pantry is by doing it by category – sauces all go together, spices go together, lunchbox snacks go together etc, etc….
- Place most used food at the front: Prioritise the products in your pantry and ensure that the items you use the most get prime positioning.
- Use racks and dividers to stay organised: There are some handy pantry storage solutions and dividers available that can help to keep your pantry ship shape. A spice rack will ensure that all those little containers are stored neatly, dividers are handy for keeping jars and cans from rolling around, and sliding baskets are great for storing odds and ends.
August 10, 2021 / Blog
How to feed a family on a budget
It is no secret that the cost of living is constantly increasing, and it is becoming more and more difficult to feed your family healthy nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Don’t despair. There are plenty of savvy ways that you can reign in your budget whilst still serving up tasty, healthy delights to your loved ones.
Here are some helpful tips that will see you feeding your family within budget
- Meal plan: Simply put: “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”. The best way to economically feed a family well on a budget is to plan what you are planning to plate up.
- Grocery plan: Once you have worked out your meal plan, the next step is to organise your grocery list. Put pen to paper and write down everything you need for your shop. Don’t be afraid to use tinned or frozen options instead of fresh, as they can be a fabulous cost-effective substitute to their fresh cousins.
- Extend/re-use ingredients: When working out your meal plan, it is always smart (and cost effective) to see how you can either extend or re-use ingredients from one meal to another. If you menu-plan effectively, you can work it out so that you are using similar ingredients for various meals, meaning you can reduce the number of ingredients needing to be purchased.
- Meat-free Mondays: It’s amazing how much money you can save by simply removing meat off the menu for a meal or two a week. Vegetarian risottos, soups and bean stews are healthy, tasty, and economic options that can satisfy a family without breaking the budget.
- Turn leftovers into take away: Get creative and turn one meal into two. There is nothing better than recycled leftovers, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Turn leftover curry into pies, surplus rice into poke bowls and left-over pasta into a tray bake.
July 26, 2021 / Blog
Simple ways to save money fast
Lasting financial success does not happen overnight but takes time. There are however instances when the bills are pilling up and you may need to make some financial changes fast. In these situations, frugality is key and it's vital that you find ways to effectively cut your spending without dramatically changing the quality of your life.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you save money in the short term
- Write a list before you go shopping: Impulse buying is a sure-fire way to bust the budget. Write a comprehensive shopping list before you hit the stores and stick to it.
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses: It’s easy to trim the fat if you put your mind to it. Look at how many streaming services you are subscribing to and see if you can reduce it. Make your lunch to take to work and cut out, or at least cut down, on takeaway.
- Compare and save: There are many online resources that allow you to compare what you are paying for various expenses like utilities and insurances. Use these to your advantage and you might find that the savings add up.
- Think ahead: Leaving things to the last minute can be an expensive option. Look at your year on a plate and plan it out ahead of time and see ways that you can spread the costs of the year out in a way that is financially sustainable.
- Sell instead of spending: Clean out your cupboard and get rid of any unwanted items that are taking up space in your home or that you no longer use. Have a garage sale or list items on eBay or Gumtree ... your trash could be someone else’s treasure, and you might make a pretty penny in the process.
July 19, 2021 / Blog
Christmas Countdown – how to take the sting out of Christmas shopping
We all know that Christmas is a stressful time of the year, but there are many simple things that you can do to help take the sting out of Christmas shopping.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your Christmas as stress free as possible.
- Plan ahead: As with all things in life, the better prepared you are, the less stressful your life will be. Write a list of what you need for Christmas as far as gifts and other shopping that needs to be done. Make sure that you check your list twice and ensure that you have all bases covered.
- Set a budget: Work out how much you can afford to spend this silly season and allocate where your expenditure will go. Work out how much you will spend on gifts, entertaining and groceries. Once you have set your budget, make sure that you stick to it.
- Spread the cost over the year: A magic money tree does not appear come 1st December, so avoid leaving all your shopping to the last minute. Look at spreading the cost of Christmas out throughout the year. This simple tip alone will take a lot of the sting out of the Christmas spend.
Every year the team at Chrisco strives to help Australians affordably create the Christmas of their dreams. From gifts to food and drink, Chrisco offers people the option to select what they want and need to make their Christmas magical and allows them to pay it off in manageable instalments before the festive season taking a lot of the stress and financial pain out of Christmas. If you want to discover how to embark on your journey for a stress-free Christmas, view our catalogues here or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to see what Chrisco has to offer.
July 8, 2021 / Blog
Benefits of starting to prepare for Christmas NOW
A stress free, financially feasible holiday season is possible, but it will mean starting to prepare for Christmas now!
Here are some tips and tricks that you can start doing now that will make your Christmas more enjoyable and save you money!
- Make a list and check it twice
Let’s face it the end of the year is a busy time so writing your Christmas list mid-year will help to spread the work over several months and will prevent any costly last-minute surprises. Write down all the gifts that you will need to purchase, write down all the events that you expect to attend and what if anything you will be expected to take and finally write down any events that you might be hosting and what you will require for those events. Putting everything down on paper can be a bit daunting but what it does is to set clear expectations for the festive season, avoids you from making last minute purchases for someone that you might have forgotten and helps you to identify the things that you can tick off the list ahead of time.
Layby is the savvy shopper’s best friend. It allows you to get what you need well in advance, pay it off in affordable instalments, avoid interest charges and it even provides free storage! Layby is such a great way to spread the cost of Christmas out over the year and prevents you from making any last-minute impulse purchases.
Aside of gifts, food and drink are your biggest cost come the festive season so it’s a really good idea to think ahead about how you can meet your entertaining needs without blowing the budget. There are lots of low-cost options you just need to think outside the box and be organised. Pre planning your food needs ahead of time for the holiday season will save you both time and money.
- Set a budget and stick to it
Setting a budget for your Christmas expenses and spreading the cost out of the year will really help to reduce the financial strain that the holidays can bring. Chrisco has a helpful budget calculator that allows you to simply put in your budget and then it helps you plan what you can buy within that budget. Just go to www.chrisco.com.au in the top banner and you can already start planning your Christmas budget!
June 21, 2021 / Blog
Tips for cooking on a budget
Eating well does not have to be expensive. With a good plan it is easy to enjoy healthy, flavoursome meals whilst sticking to a budget.
Meal planning lays the foundation for saving on your grocery bill. It’s quite simple – if you plan well, you’re likely to spend less when you are grocery shopping.
A plan can take many forms at its most simplistic it’s a basic grocery list, but it can be so much more….
Here are some great tips that will let your back pocket benefit from the art of meal planning!
1. Always include one of your “family favourites” in your weekly meal plan
Do not try and reinvent the wheel. If something is a winner then don’t be afraid to let it make a regular appearance on the dinner table. If you cook something regularly the less likely you are to have to purchase additional pantry items and the more likely that everyone will eat it!
2.Look at what you have in your pantry and plan around it
Peek in the pantry, the fridge and the freezer and see what you already have and then build your recipes around what you have, reducing the need to purchase new ingredients as well as minimising wastage.
3. Be strategic – cook once, eat twice
Good meal planning is all about being strategic. When selecting recipes for the week look for ones that share ingredients. For example, if you are making a recipe that requires rice such as a curry then look for another recipe such as poke bowls that can make use of any leftover rice.
4. Make leftovers part of the plan
Spending money on lunch out can get expensive so recycle last nights dinner into today’s lunch for both you and the kids!
5. Meat free Monday
Not only does a vegetarian diet offer many health benefits it also saves a lot of money as meat can be expensive. So, by simply swapping one or two meals each week for a meat free option you will really start to notice a change in your weekly grocery expenses.
June 16, 2021 / Blog
Simple ways to save money … how making small changes can make a big difference!
What’s holding you back? The sooner you start, the more you can save!
Here are some simple ways that you can start saving:
- Set a goal: Whether it’s a new car, a holiday or just to have some money in the bank for a rainy day, the place to begin is to set a savings goal and stick to it. Work out how much you need, what you can REALISTICALLY afford to put away each week and how long it will take for you to achieve your goal.
- Look for small savings: Write a list of all your regular expenses and spending habits and then look at where you can trim some fat. You will be surprised at how quickly the little things can add up!
- Make a budget and stick to it: Once you have worked out your expenses, you can set a realistic budget for the week, month or even year. Setting and sticking to a budget will help you to achieve your savings goal much quicker.
- Pay down the debt: Debt is expensive, so if you have any spare money, don’t buy that new top - pay off your debt instead. Look at what interest rates you have on any debt and pay off the highest ones first.
- Change your spending habits: Small spending savings in the short term can add up to big savings in the long run. Take your lunch to work, buy a coffee twice a week not every day and eat leftovers instead of takeaway. You will be amazed at how small changes to your daily habits will boost your bank balance.
- Get organised in advance: Looking at the big picture can really reduce last minute spending and impulse buying. Preparing for big events such as Christmas and start putting away for it during the year. Look at layby as an option as opposed to using the credit card. Paying something off as opposed to paying interest on a debt is a great way to start saving money.
June 8, 2021 / Blog
6 ways to spend less this winter
Let’s face it, winter can be harsh - it’s cold and gloomy and it can also be costly. But there are some simple things that you can do to keep costs down. Here are a few tips that will help you to spend less this winter.
Lights, TV, anything that you leave on whilst you are not home or when you are sleeping will add to your electricity bill. Turn off what you are not using, and you will find that your electricity bill will decrease.
Turn off or turn down the heat
Only use the heating when you really need it and make sure that you turn it off when you leave the house. If you don’t want to turn the heating off completely, then consider turning down the heat by a few degrees, especially if you are not home. Doing this will save on your energy bill.
There are plenty of cost-effective ways to stay warm. Adding an extra blanket to your bed, snuggling up with on the couch with rugs and using hot water bottles are highly effective ways to ward off the winter chills.
Grocery shopping can really swallow up a lot of your cash, so plan your meals for the week ahead of time, make a list before you shop and most importantly STICK TO THE LIST. Make a budget for what you feel you should be spending on groceries each week and select your meals for the week based on your budget. Avoid impulse buying and purchasing comfort food. Another good trick to keeping the weekly grocery bill down is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and buying tinned and frozen fruits and vegetables as a more cost-efficient alternative to fresh.
When you are cooking make a little bit extra and pop it in the freezer for a rainy day or as an alternative to take away. Leftovers also make great lunches for work or school and can save you from spending unnecessarily.
Close your curtains and seal your windows
Closing your curtains will help to stop heat from escaping and will act as another barrier to letting cold air in. Also make sure that all your windows and doors are properly sealed and are not letting in any frosty winter drafts.
Using these tips can really be a winter money saver.
May 24, 2021 / Blog
6 mini money hacks that will save you a lot
Taking care with how you spend your money makes sense - you want to save as much of it as possible. It does not have to take lots of time, effort or going without to be a smart saver.
Here we share 6 mini money hacks that will help you boost your bank account:
- 1. Automate your expenses and your savings: When working to a budget and trying to save, one of the best ways for things to go smoothly is for you to set up your expenses and savings to be automated. If every pay day your utilities and other expenses, as well as your savings, are automatically deducted from your account, it ensures that you don’t overspend and that all your bill and saving requirements are met.
- 2. Make a meal plan: Feeding a family can be one of your biggest weekly expenses and last-minute takeaways can really blow the budget, so creating and sticking to a meal plan can do wonders for saving money. Planning what your family eats each week will reduce wastage, allow you to shop and cook efficiently as well as save you a ton of cash.
- 3. Drink more water: Not only will this improve your health, but it will also improve your bank balance. Soft drink, alcohol and juice is expensive whilst bottled water and, even better, tap water is cheap - so drink more of it!.
- 4. Compare, compare and compare again: Look at all your insurance policies and shop around to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. The cheapest is not necessarily the best but by doing your homework you could save yourself a pretty penny or at least get more for your money.
- 5. Keep up the maintenance: By taking care of your home, your car and any other big-ticket items and ensuring that that are well serviced and maintained, you will be saving yourself some big repair bills down the track.
- 6. Give up expensive habits: One of the best way to build up your bank account quickly is by cutting out or cutting back on expensive habits. Whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, shopping or eating out – reducing your spending on these non-necessary indulgences will save you a lot of money.
May 21, 2021 / Blog
Don’t throw it away! 5 Creative ways to use leftovers
How many times have you found a container lurking at the back of your fridge with week-old leftovers that have long been forgotten? Don’t worry, you are not alone. We have all been guilty of letting good food go to waste.
But for a whole lot of reasons - financial, social and environmental - it makes sense for us to be mindful to use what we have in the fridge, and that means getting creative by using leftovers more effectively!
Here are our top 5 tips on what to do with your surplus food:
Be smart on how you store: Not only are glass containers reusable and sustainable, but they also let you easily see what is inside. If you are freezing, then a clever and compact way is to use zip lock backs and label them with contents and date.
Leftover and freezer nights: If your fridge and freezer are heaving, then put the pans away and use up what you have. Some of the most fun dinners can be an eclectic mix of bits and pieces from the fridge and freezer!
Transform dinners into lunch: There is no quicker, easier or financially savvy way to create work or school lunches than by using last night’s leftovers and transforming them into today's and tomorrow's lunches. It not only cuts down on waste but will also save you lots of money.
Think ahead: When you are working out your weekly meal plan think about what extra portions you might have and how you can use them, you will find that this not only saves you time but also money. If you have left over vegetables, they become the base for a pasta or soup for the weekend or, if you are doing a baked dinner, any leftover meat will be a delicious sandwich filling for the following day's lunch.
Don’t think “leftovers” but rather “pre prepared ingredients”: Change your mindset about leftovers and think of them as already made ingredients that will help you to quickly and cheaply transform your discarded veggies into a delicious frittata or your surplus rice into risotto.
Getting into the habit of using leftovers will not only save you time and money but it is also better for the environment and is far more socially responsible than letting good food go to waste!
May 11, 2021 / Blog
4 Benefits of shopping using layby
Do you remember when your parents used to buy the new family fridge or dining table using layby? Years ago, layby was a big thing – you found something you needed or wanted, secured it with a deposit and then paid it off over several months as you could afford it and then, voila, you were the owner of a new set of Britannica Encyclopedias!
In the modern-day world of instant gratification, layby has become somewhat of a forgotten shopping gem, but in these tough financial times and with consumers becoming increasingly credit-responsible, good old fashion layby appears to be having a resurgence and there are some pretty good reasons why …
Here are some of the benefits when it comes to using layby to get your shopping done:
- Convenience: Layby comes in really handy when you see something you want but don’t have the money to purchase it. You can put down a small deposit and slowly pay it back in affordable instalments. It also allows you to plan for the future, so if you have big occasions like Christmas or birthdays coming up, you can choose what you want ahead of time and use layby as a means to pay it off so that when the time comes to celebrate you are prepared!
- Allows you to budget properly: Layby allows you to secure something that you need or want and pay it off without having to use a credit card or pay for it in full up front. When you are trying to stick to a tight budget, impulse buys can really cause you to come unstuck, as can hefty interest rates on credit cards. Layby can offer the budget conscious shopper a great alternative purchasing option.
- Shopping made easy: One of the huge plus sides of using layby to shop means that you can put things away as you see them without having to pay for them fully in advance, taking a lot of the pain out of shopping. If you see the perfect gift for mum but her birthday is not for 6 months, you can layby it and pay it off, meaning you secure your gift without having to pay for it fully before you need it. It also means that you can get super organised ahead of time taking the stress out shopping last minute for things.
- Gift storage: No more hiding things under the stairs or in the attic, layby offers the most perfect gift storage solution for Christmas and other occasions. You can secure what you need and then the store keeps it until you need it making it super helpful when you are trying to keep gifts hidden from prying eyes!
May 5, 2021 / Blog
Mother’s Day – 5 ways to show mum you love her without breaking the bank
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so it’s time to start thinking about ways that you can make your mum feel special come May 9th. This year, look outside the box and really think of something unique that your mum will be sure to cherish. You don’t have to spend a fortune on chocolate, perfume or candles to make your mum feel loved – if you focus on a gift from the heart, then you will be sure to make her smile.
Here are some suggestions to help make your mum's Mother’s Day a special one:
- Spend time with her doing something that she loves: Let’s face it, there is nothing that any mum loves more than spending quality time with her kids, so book your mum in and take her on a date. If she loves nature, take her for a walk in the National Park; if she loves old movies, then transform your living room into a cinema and make it a marathon movie day; if she loves art, then take her on a gallery hop.
- Make a meal of it: Host lunch or dinner for your mum and cook all of her favourite foods or dishes that mean something special in your family. Cooking her favourite meal or her favourite treats will really show your mum that you know what she loves.
- Create a family photo book: Whether you do it online or create one at home, compiling an album of family photos will really touch your mum’s heart.
- Make her something or do something for her: Everyone has a talent at something, so get creative and channel your artistic self into creating something personal for your mum – a painting, drawing, collage, knitted blanket or baked goods. A homemade gift is sure to be a winner. If you are not the creative type, then do something practical for your mum like mowing the lawn and tidying the garden, cleaning the house or decluttering the garage for her. Guaranteed she will enjoy the sentiment of your time more than she will appreciate another hand lotion!
- Pre plan: If you do have your heart set on purchasing something special for your mum, then be smart about it and plan ahead. Layby is a really good interest free option that allows you to buy your dream gift for mum and pay it off in instalments.
However you plan to treat your mum this Mother’s Day, don’t forget to do one very important thing – tell her that you love her!
April 27, 2021 / Blog
Tricks to cooking like a chef … on a budget
Cooking delicious meals does not have to cost you a fortune. In fact, some of the most flavoursome dishes actually come from some surprisingly inexpensive, humble origins.
Here we share with you some of our top tricks on how to cook like a MasterChef on a budget…
- Cook like a peasant: Some of arguably the best dishes to grace the dinner table (ratatouille, fajitas, bibimbap) were invented by people who were strapped for cash. Take the famous Tuscan soup, Ribollita for example – it is made with left over vegetable soup and bread and is one of the most delectable delights that will ever hit your tastebuds. In fact, so many wonderful dishes - think flavoursome risottos and tasty frittatas - were born out of poverty, so really as long as you have rice or eggs on hand there is no excuse not to be able to whip up a delicious yet inexpensive meal.
- Don’t be afraid to use cheap cuts of meat: Being a meat snob can actually put you at a cooking disadvantageous as it is some of the cheaper cuts of meat that really pack the flavour punch. Chicken thigh, flank steak and pork tenderloin are all inexpensive yet delicious options that can become the frugal chef’s best friend.
- Slow cooking: Cheap cuts such as gravy beef and brisket are also excellent when slow cooked – in fact any cheap cut of meat will be transformed by slow cooking. It’s a terrific way to extract flavour and make a little go a long way so is another firm favourite with the budget conscious chef.
- Season away: One of the best ways to enhance a dish without breaking the bank is to ensure that it is well seasoned. Dried herbs and spices work just as well as their expensive fresh counterparts, so don’t be afraid to experiment and use them generously. Salt is a chef’s number one cooking companion, which when used correctly, can transform even the blandest of foods.
- Use frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables: As delicious as fresh fruit and veggies can be the fact is they are often expensive and don’t last long. Frozen fruit and vegetables provide a really cost effective and convenient cooking option. When used in many dishes such as soups, stews and risottos you will never be able to tell the difference between frozen or fresh so why not use the more budget friendly option!
- Reinvent leftovers: Clever chefs don’t waste food – turn left over vegies into stock, any remaining curry or stew into pies and left over bolognaise sauce into a hearty lasagne. Transforming your leftovers is a savvy way to save money and create another delicious dinner with minimal effort!
April 21, 2021 / Blog
5 ways to save money on a tight budget
Budgets can really be a dirty word to many of us... it can be really challenging to find additional ways to trim the fat and it often isn’t much fun! These tips might help you to think about ways you can save for that rainy day (or holiday)...!
Here are 5 ways that you can save money even when you are already living on a tight budget:
- Revise your food bill: Obviously dining out and takeaway is expensive, so these luxuries need to be really cut back on for those of us trying to minimise our spending. Leftovers make fantastic lunches, have your coffee at home, take a water bottle with you and plan ahead. Make a weekly or even monthly meal plan for your family and don’t let anything go to waste. Left over vegies can make a fabulous stir fry, rice can be used as a side for a curry or as filling for tacos. Checking out meat specials or cutting back on meat a bit each week will also make a huge difference to your food bill. You can also save money by buying frozen or canned fruits, beans and vegetables.
- Switch to cash for day-to-day expenses: Clearly, it’s not practical to pay big bills such as your rent, car repayment and utilities using cash but by switching to cash for other expenses you will quickly notice a change for the better in your spending habits. Using cash makes you more aware and more accountable for your purchases and places a harder limit on your spending.
- Commit to paying off your debt: High interest debts such as credit cards really crunch through your monthly income. Committing to paying off your debts as soon as possible is the first step in freeing up extra money for the future.
- Cut back a little bit everywhere: It's easy to try and cut back in one area of your life but to really reap benefits from budgeting you need to look at cutting back a little bit in every area of your life that you have expenditure. By cutting back a little bit in every area of your budget such as entertainment, utilities, groceries and transportation you will find that by counting the pennies that the pounds will eventually look after themselves!
- Look at the big picture: A next step to cutting back on expenditure is to look at the big-ticket expenses in your life. Look at things like your rent and car repayments and consider if savings can be made by looking at cheaper alternatives or perhaps getting a housemate or using car share instead of owning a car yourself.
April 20, 2021 / Blog
3 tips for an easier Christmas
For so many of us Christmas can be a hugely stressful time of the year, between the shopping, cooking, extra expenditure and not to mention the often forced time spent with extended family can really cause a peak in people’s anxiety levels.
But there are some simple things that you can do to make Christmas just that little bit easier:
Work out a plan pre-December
Without a doubt the most effective way to limit Christmas stress is to be a pre planner. Work out way in advance of December what your plans are for the festive season – who you will be seeing, who you might be visiting, how many times that you will be entertaining and what gifts you will need and what food you need to provide. Plan now and pay for it bit by bit instead of in one big scary lump sum.
Get as much done before December 1st as you can, and you will find yourself laughing all the way to Christmas day!
Create and stick to a budget
One of the best ways to reduce Christmas stress is to simply spread out the cost of Christmas. There is no point in giving yourself a heart attack because you are trying to buy champagne when you are on a beer budget!. Chrisco has an awesome budget calculator that allows you to put in your budget and helps you plan what you can buy within your budget. Just head to www.chrisco.com.au in the top banner and enjoy planning your Christmas budget.
Be a savvy shopper
Start early by placing a layby. This will not only help you to spread the expense across the year, but it will also prevent you from making any expensive last minute impulsive purchases.
February 23, 2021 / Blog
Top tips for choosing gifts for people
Gifts can play an important role in many of our lives and can demonstrate your thought, care and love for a person. It's important to remember that for a gift to be well received it does not have to be ornate, over the top or expensive - it's all in the thought and detail.
Here are some tips to help you choose and give the perfect gift:
Make a list of all the things that the person is interested in: Sit down and have a good hard think about what makes the recipient of your gift tick then next to each interest think of a gift that might compliment it. If someone loves fishing then a subscription to a fishing magazine might be a hit whilst if someone is a real foodie then a gourmet hamper might be the winning present.
Make the present an event: Think outside of the box and instead of just handing over a gift in wrapping paper make the whole experience of gift giving an event - create a scavenger hunt with clues or wrap the gift in a series of different sized boxes like pass the parcel!
Give an experience: Forget perfume and books some of the best gifts can be experiences. Think about tickets to a concert or a musical, a cooking class, ballroom dancing lessons or even a gift card to the arcade.
Think about what the person might need: If you have a friend that loves walking then maybe new sneakers, a visor or a water bottle could be a good practical gift whilst if your daughter loves drawing then a new sketch pad and pencils might go down well whilst if your husband loves to cook then a knife sharpener might be a useful addition to the kitchen but not something that he might necessarily think to buy for himself.
Be sentimental: Some of the best gifts are the sentimental ones. A beautifully framed old photo, a handmade card, a jar containing little notes with “All the things that we love about you”.
Do some stalking: If all else fails then resort to stalking! Everyone these days leaves behind a digital footprint so get on social media and do some snooping and you might just find a clue as to the perfect gift.
Have a sense of humour: There are some hysterical gag gifts available so get creative - a great one after the year we have all had could be a box of toilet paper!
February 8, 2021 / Blog
Five clever things that you can do now to save money and budget wisely
Whilst you might not have control over the economy you do however have control over your own finances, and there are many simple things that you can do to start to save money and budget wisely.
Here are our top five tips to help you get ahead:
Go through your insurance policies and service providers and compare rates: You will be shocked to find out what immediate savings are possible when you start to compare different insurance policies and start to check out what different service providers have on offer. There are heaps of great free online tools that you can use to help you to compare rates and services. Saving a little on each bill and policy can add up to a hefty some in the long term. It might take a few hours out of your day but the savings will be worth it!
Downgrade or reduce some services: With so many streaming services on offer it can be tempting to sign up for many of them, but do you really need them? You might not think that each one is expensive individually, but when you are paying for multiple services every single month, then it can really add up. Choose one or two services that you really love and get rid of the rest! You might also want to get rid of your landline. In this day and age with most family homes having multiple mobiles, the land line has become virtually obsolete. Think carefully about if you need to pay the monthly service charge for a landline or if your mobile device will suffice?
Cut down on take-away and coffees: Even if the meal is not expensive, doing it frequently can really add up - a $20 pizza once a week is $1000 a year whilst a daily coffee on the go at $4.50 a pop will set you back just shy of $250 per annum. It's the little things that really end up adding up!
Gold coin jar: Buy a money tin from the $2 shop that can only be opened with a can opener (this is important so you don't get tempted to raid it) and commit to putting all your gold coins in it. Once it is full - open it up and you will be surprised at how much loose change can add up to over a period of time.
Keep track of your spending: It might not sound like rocket science, but you will be surprised at just how many people have no idea where their money goes. Keep a close eye on what and where you are spending your money by writing it down and tracking it. This will allow you to see areas that you can cut back on, assist you in budgeting and help you to reduce debt and start saving.
September 15, 2020 / Blog
A very techy Christmas
Whether it’s the latest iPhone or the newest games, technology is one of the most popular gift options for all ages at Christmas.
The good news is, we’ve got you covered with all the latest tech including the best brands and most sought after options, so you can start crossing those tech items off your Christmas list long in advance of the big day.
Here’s just a snapshot or our huge range of technology gifts for Christmas 2021…
Mobile phones and tablets
In the smart phone world, two brands reign supreme – Apple and Samsung. And we’ve got them both available as part of our upcoming catalogues for 2021.
The very latest iPhone are among the options available, along with the Samsung Galaxy s20.
We’ve also sought out one of the best tablets available in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.
Know someone who’s looking to kit out their car this Christmas? From stereos and speaker systems to dash cams, and rearview cameras, we’ve got a great range of in-car technology to totally refine that ride!
Give the gift of some super smooth tunes with a range of technology that brings music into a whole new era. iPod Touch is among the options available along with a host of great headphones, earbuds and Bluetooth speakers.
For the young and the young at heart, we’ve brought together an awesome selection of tech toys that range from Leapfrog learning devices for the littlies to remote controlled cars and state-of-the-art drones.
Whether you’re looking to thrill young gamers or the more experienced gaming enthusiast in your life, our range of great gaming gifts is sure to satisfy.
Nintendo Switch Lite portable gaming consoles are the perfect for the young ones and come complete with a gaming pack, while the Nintendo Switch Console Bundle is an ideal gift for those who prefer to play at home.
Meanwhile, we’ve also embraced the retro with a selection of cool arcade-style.
Wearables are a hot-ticket item right now, and we’re here to assist with smart watches suited to the whole family.
From Apple Watches to V-Tech and Spacetalk kids’ smart watches, these nifty little wearables do so much more than tell the time!
So how does it work?
Chrisco has assembled all the best tech brands available to offer an almost endless catalogue of great gift ideas this Christmas.
You simply select the items you want and add them to your wish list online or over the phone, then pay them off in easy installments.
It’s all part of our commitment to making Christmas affordable and manageable for Australian families. You can start the journey to a stress-free Christmas by viewing our catalogues here, or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to place your order.
July 7, 2020 / Blog
Top money tips for managing Christmas
It’s no secret Christmas can be costly. With gifts to buy, food to prepare and lots of social events on the calendar, the price tag can quickly add up.
Meanwhile, the last thing you want to do is rack up a credit card debt that comes back to bite you in the new year.
So, with just less than six months to go until Christmas, here are our top money tips for managing Christmas.
Now is the time to consider your upcoming Christmas costs and start setting a budget that allows you to handle Christmas spending with ease. Then make lists of what you require, including:
Presents - List who you will be buying for and what you want to spend on each. Then consider the type of item you’re thinking of giving.
Entertainment – Think about the food you’re likely to need and how many people you’ll be catering to. Don’t forget to factor in extras like treats, and quick meals in case you have unexpected guests.
Travel – If you’re heading interstate or away this Christmas, look into the cost of your travel plans. Even driving holidays quickly add up when it comes to petrol, overnight accommodation and food for the trip.
Buy in advance
Believe it or not, six months out from Christmas is the perfect time to start buying some of the items you need. This allows you to take advantage of specials and sales, while also breaking the spending into manageable chunks.
At Chrisco we offer a huge range of Christmas catalogues that allow you to order what you need now and pay it off in advance of Christmas in easy and affordable installments.
Better yet, you can get all your toys, gifts, food items, household appliances and products in one convenient order that will see you super-sorted and financially secure far in advance of the festive season.
Avoid the credit card
Did you know Australians have one of the highest personal debt levels in the developed world? And that’s largely due to our love of credit cards.
In 2018, the ABC reported Aussies have a whopping $45 billion in credit card debt, and big-spending times like Christmas are when we’re likely to whip that card out.
Avoid the credit card by setting a budget, saving in advance and ordering and paying for what you can prior to Christmas.
Watch buy now, pay later
Recent years has seen the introduction of buy now, pay later shopping initiatives, but what many people fail to realise is that they can affect your credit rating and set you back financially.
For example, Zip Pay is considered a loan that registers on your credit rating. Meanwhile some services also come with punishing interest rates, meaning you might be paying a lot more for a product than you thought.
You can start the journey to a stress-free and financially secure Christmas by viewing our catalogues here, or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to order your hamper.
June 17, 2020 / Blog
Christmas entertaining made easy
We all know Christmas can be an expensive time, and although gifts might be the main thing on your mind, the reality is it’s the little extras on the side that can soon add up.
For example, catering Christmas lunch can set you back, while the Christmas season in general is a hugely social affair. There are barbecues, street parties, school parties, and the unexpected pop-in from friends or family that can quickly derail even the best-planned budget.
So, with just a little over six months until Christmas, here are some quick and affordable tips for Christmas entertaining made easy.
Stock up your pantry
Right about now is the perfect time to start stockpiling non-perishable items for your pantry. These are the things you can buy in bulk, get at a good price and have on hand when a crowd unexpectedly descends on your home.
Items like chips, crackers, coffee and biscuits are the ideal entertaining food items to go for, but don’t forget some of the staples as well.
Chances are the festive season will see you busier than normal, so quick meal options are great to have on hand.
Pasta and noodles are popular, allowing you to whip up a meal in minutes. Meanwhile sweet treats like chocolate and Tim Tams are always a welcome addition, and even general items like cereal can save you time and effort in the busy season.
Consider your meat needs
Whether it’s summer barbecues, cooked brekkies for the extended family, or Christmas lunch, meat is likely to take a major chunk out of your entertaining budget.
That’s where a little freezer space and some planning comes in handy. By buying meat in bulk and freezing it in advance, you can save a lot on entertaining costs throughout the Christmas period.
When buying meats, factor in variety. Go for quick and easy family favourites like sausages and steak for barbecues, along with roast meats for Christmas Day, and other meal options like mince for those unexpected entertaining moments where you need to whip up a quick bolognaise, tacos or lasagne to feed a famished festive crowd.
Go with frozen
While you’re stocking that freezer, consider pre-purchasing quick frozen meals and vegetables. Frozen vegetables can help bolster a meal with healthy ingredients or serve as a staple on the side.
Meanwhile, simple frozen meals like pizza, or chicken nuggets allow you to swiftly roll out a feast for the hungry hordes.
How Chrisco can help
Each year we help Australians affordably manage the Christmas of their dreams. At Chrisco we offer the opportunity to select gift and food items in advance, and pay them off in manageable installments prior to the season of giving.
What’s more, our Christmas hamper range has plenty of options to stock up on pantry staples, meat selections and frozen items. You simply select from our great range, add it to your cart and pay it off in easy installments prior to Christmas.
You can start the journey to a stress-free Christmas by viewing our catalogues here, or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to order your hamper.
May 25, 2020 / Blog
The ultimate pre-Christmas checklist to see you super sorted for Santa
It’s hard to believe but as of the end of June, the countdown is officially on until Christmas. And with the festive season just seven months (30 weeks) away, now is the ideal time to start planning the occasion.
Whether it’s a small family affair or a major social gathering, here is our essential pre-Christmas checklist to help you enjoy every moment of the festive season.
Six months to go
Where? - Right about now is the ideal time to be talking to family and friends about where this year’s big event will take place. If it’s to be your place, six months’ notice allows the perfect amount of time to plan meals, consider food requirements and ponder the house-keeping projects that you might like to complete in advance.
Schedule leave – This is also one of the last opportunities many workplaces will have for scheduling leave. So, check in on whether your workplace is shutting down, or is to remain open and request your holiday leave if you need to.
Book travel – If your Christmas is to be spent interstate or overseas, now is the perfect time to organise your travel arrangements.
Gifts – Believe it or not, six months prior to Christmas is the ideal to be considering gifts, allowing you to stockpile in advance, pay off the bigger items, and ensure everyone is catered for.
12 weeks to go
The Christmas calendar – With just 12 weeks to go, this is the time to start your Christmas calendar, popping in events that are likely to take place over the busy period. In a digital day and age, a shared calendar is a great idea, allowing members of the family to start adding their commitments to the schedule like work Christmas parties, end of year school plays, concerts etc.
Travel – If you’re driving this Christmas, it’s a good time to book in all those pre-holiday safety checks, while planning the best time and date to hit the road, and the route you will take.
A quick audit – 12 weeks out from Christmas is a great opportunity to take stock of the items you have and the further things you will need. This includes a full gift-list, household items like plates, tableware and decorations, and things like linen supplies if people will be staying at your house.
A rough menu – If you’re hosting Christmas, now is also a great time to write a rough menu of what food you intend to serve, and what types of items you will need. Check in with family and friends to make sure there are no food allergies and you can also start stockpiling non-perishable items.
Four weeks to go
At this point the festive season gets serious. With just four weeks to go, now is the time to...
- Purchase and write Christmas cards
- Plan a detailed Christmas lunch menu
- Finalise your gift list (including all those little extras like teachers’ gifts or Secret Santas)
- Locate and dust off the Christmas decorations
- Check the safety of your Christmas lights
- Bake and freeze what you can
- Mail any presents interstate
Three weeks to go
Between the end of school, and work and social commitments, the first week of December sees the festivities begin to ramp up.
At this point, it’s wise to…
- Start wrapping gifts
- Buy any last-minute gifts before the shops become too frantic
- Pre-make some easy meals
- Stock up on freezable meats and essential items
And of course, in many households, now is the time to decorate the tree and put up Christmas lights.
Two weeks to go
This week is all about the final preparations and ensuring you have enough non-perishable supplies. It sees the focus on…
- Checking in on the numbers of who will be attending Christmas events at your house
- Purchasing items like alcohol and any additional pantry staples
- Considering the little things like Christmas music, serviettes, seating arrangements, and household cleaning
- Buying batteries for children’s toys
- Pre-preparing what you can
One week to go
Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane…
By now your guest numbers should be finalised and the pantry well-stocked, but chances are there will be some small matters that need to be attended to, like:
- Perishable grocery shopping for fruit and vegetables
- Last-minute gift wrapping
- Setting the table
- Siting back, relaxing and enjoying the celebrations!
How Chrisco can help
Each year we help Australians affordably manage the Christmas of their dreams. At Chrisco we offer the opportunity to select gift and food items in advance, and pay them off in manageable installments prior to season of giving.
What’s more, our Christmas hampers are delivered or ready for pick-up between mid-November to mid-December, allowing you to avoid the Christmas crowds and giving you plenty of time for wrapping.
Our catalogues have a huge selection of products like toys, gifts, household goods and food, including all your festive favourites, along with a host of bonus extras like competitions and prizes.
You can start the journey to a stress-free Christmas by viewing our catalogues here, or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to order your hamper.
April 27, 2020 / Blog
All the Christmas favourites
At Chrisco, we’ve been working with Australian families for over 20 years to help them enjoy a planned, budgeted and affordable Christmas.
Each year that gives us a fascinating insight into Christmas gift buying trends, along with the everyday items Aussies have on their wish list come the festive season.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration or just want a sneak peek into all the products that prove popular at Christmas, here’s a list of all the Christmas favourites that rank as our yearly best sellers.
In the food department
When we first arrived in Australia, we quickly made a name for ourselves for the affordable range of food hampers we offer each year. And when it comes to what’s popular in the pantry, there are some really interesting trends.
Among our best sellers are the ‘Pantry Filler’, ‘Mega Christmas’, ‘Traditional Christmas’ and ‘Mega Holiday’ options. Ranging in size each of these helps families to stock up on essential entertaining items to cater the festive season.
On top of this Aussies tend to complement their pantry needs with frozen items that they can have on hand to whip up a quick meal for family and friends.
Ranking as hugely popular are the ‘Mixed Veggies’, ‘Plenty of Pizza’, 'Mini Steggler' hampers, and of course the ‘Icy Sticks’ option to cater to some chilled-out fun across the holiday period.
In the meat department
It’s no secret that an Australian Christmas is all about outdoor entertaining and we see this reflected every year in the meat hampers people choose to buy.
In addition to hampers which include roast meats for Christmas day, ‘BBQ meat’ hampers, ‘Maxi Meat’ and ‘Mega Meat Combo’ are among the perennial faves.
In the kitchen
As people prepare their homes to cater to the Christmas crowds, the kitchen tends to become a focus. Often shoppers will stock up on necessities like dinnerware, cookware, knives, utensils and even appliances like deep fryers.
Some of these are intended as gifts, but in other cases people are restocking their home in advance of the Christmas rush.
In the children’s department
Because Chrisco offers Christmas shoppers the chance to buy gifts in advance and pay them off in instalments, we see a major trend in big-ticket items when it comes to gifts for kids.
Each year trampolines prove popular, along with play centres, while bikes and gaming consoles also rank among the best sellers.
People tend to lock these items in early as the major gift then complement them with items from our ever-popular toy catalogue.
In the gift department
In the gift department, we also see big-ticket items on many shoppers’ lists. These are the dream gifts that would otherwise set people back significantly if they were to purchase them in-store in the Christmas rush.
Among the popular items are laptops, tool sets, entertainment systems and of course the latest tech like smart watches and mobile phones.
Meanwhile, year-in, year-out gift cards rank among our best-sellers as they cater to a range of tastes, cover all the biggest brands and allow the gift recipient to select the present they want most.
You can see our complete range of best-sellers here or browse our extensive range of catalogues, then either order online or call us directly on 1800 830 830 to order your hamper.
April 3, 2020 / Blog
Christmas, without the credit hangover
A few months into the new year, Christmas 2019 might feel like a distant memory, but for many Australians a financial hangover lingers on.
Statistics reveal over a third of Australians started 2020 with a Christmas credit card debt, and although most have repaid it by the end of February, a quarter will take up to five months or longer to effectively manage the cost of Christmas.
So, as the credit card statements keep coming, how can you better handle the cost of Christmas this year?
Tallying it up
In 2018, CommBank found Australians spend around $11 billion in total, or an average of $573 each when it comes to gifts at Christmas.
Depending on the generation, stage of life and location, that tally can be higher or lower, with the findings further revealing millennials are most likely to splash the cash at Christmas, spending up to $1000 each on gifts.
On top of that there are also additional expenses including travel, decorations and entertainment, all of which hit the household hip pocket hard.
In 2016, CommBank noted Australians spent an average of $226 on entertaining at home, while last year Finder found travel at Christmas set people back a further $471 on average.
The costs soon add up. And for most Aussies, that means credit will be the first port of call when it comes to managing Christmas expenditure and that quickly comes back to bite in the new year.
The credit crunch
Credit might feel convenient at the time, but for many households a reliance on debt quickly gets out of hand.
Come New Year 2020, Finder found 7.2 million Australians were nursing a Christmas credit card hangover, with the nation having spent $28 billion on credit cards during December 2019.
That not only means many households entered the new year behind the financial eight-ball, they were also paying above and beyond what Christmas should have cost them due to interest.
And it comes at a time of year when back-to-school and new year commitments make the household budget all that much tighter.
What would you do differently?
Christmas 2020 might be more than eight months away, but now is the ideal time to enact a truly worthwhile New Year’s resolution.
Rather than starting next year in debt, why not embrace 2021 with a clean slate free from Christmas credit? - No interest, no nasty credit surprises and no juggling to manage household costs.
That’s where we come in.