The festive season is a busy and exciting time of year but for some Rotorua families, Christmas can be a hard time on the wallet.

The Rotorua Salvation Army has a few tips around budgeting and saving money in the festive season.

Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said the Salvation Army ran a life skills course which had a budgeting element in it.

"We give advice and encourage people to be mindful of their budgeting."

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She said people often felt the word "budget" had a sort of negative connotation to it.

"When I do the course I try to help people see it in a different way - as a tool so you can realise your dreams and achieve goals."

Hore said budgeting was all about pre-planning: If you have a goal, you can achieve it.

"I think that any unexpected bills become more of an issue at Christmas because you want your money to go further. That's why budgeting is quite good."

She said a tip was to share Christmas Day expenses, such as food, throughout the family.

Hore also suggested gradually buying items, like a bottle of fizzy drink, whenever people went to the supermarket in the lead up to Christmas, and storing them away until the day.

Families could also do Secret Santa for presents to help make Christmas more affordable, as then you were buying for one person and did not have to stretch your money as much, she said.

"I think what makes Christmas difficult for families and budgets is the expectations people put on themselves."

Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye said another tip to help save money around Christmas was to make DIY presents with materials lying around the home.

"If you have a great crafting hand it's amazing what you can come up with. The time you spend making them makes it special.

"There are so many things that are special which don't cost money."

Overbye said the Salvation Army family store on Pukuatua St also had great quality items for gifts.

She said at Christmas time it was important to focus on spending quality time with family and friends.

Overbye said when they gave people food it gave them temporary relief so other issues could be worked on, such as budgeting.

The Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal is running until December 22.

The Rotorua Daily Post, in conjunction with the Rotorua Weekenderand The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM, is seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army Rotorua foodbank continue its good work.


Five ways to save money at Christmas

- Share Christmas Day expenses, such as food, throughout the family.

- Buy items gradually, a bit at a time, and store them away for Christmas.

- Do a family secret Santa - buy one gift for one person instead of buying every person a gift.

- Make DIY presents with materials from around the home.

- Buy gifts from thrift stores.