Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are taking the world by storm. Keen to invest? Monzi has put together a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know about Bitcoin, from the Bitcoin price to how to buy. We’ve got you covered.
Monzi is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
Bitcoin: an introduction
While Bitcoin probably rings a bell for most people, the world of virtual currencies typically remains a mystery.
In simple terms, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that enables peer-to-peer transactions online. In other words, it’s essentially online cash that allows you to make payments directly to other users.
Realistically, Bitcoin is a complex virtual currency that would take hours to explain. In any case, unless you’re an IT wizard with an understanding of Blockchain (you don’t need to know this), this explanation would likely make no sense.
So, we’re going to simplify things for you. We’ll do our best to give you a comprehensive yet accessible breakdown explaining all you need to know.
Bitcoin: a brief history
Launched as the first virtual currency in January 2009, Bitcoin has undergone rapid growth. While people were initially skeptical, the growing acceptance over time has seen some businesses adopt Bitcoin options to complement traditional payment methods.
Bitcoin’s initial premise was to break away from relying on a central authority (e.g. banks, an economy). Instead, cryptography controls bitcoin, its creation and its management.
In terms of price, one bitcoin was initially worth only a fraction of a cent. By December 2017, Bitcoin peaked with a price of one Bitcoin in AUD equal to just over $26,000, however, prices have dropped since.
How does Bitcoin work?
Rather than getting into the finer details of how Bitcoin works on a technical level, we’ll instead focus on how it works for you. If you are interested in Blockchain and more of the behind the scenes details, there are plenty of other great resources online that can help.
In any case, how does bitcoin work?
Essentially, it operates exactly like cash, except that it’s online. Via a mobile app or computer program, users can access their Bitcoin wallet from which they can send or receive coins (or fractions of coins).
That’s really all there is to it.
Who controls Bitcoin price?
In simple terms, coin owners control bitcoin. Users retain the right to make transactions where they see fit and there are no restrictions on this.
In addition to this, there is no organisation in charge of making the rules or setting the value. Instead, market supply and demand determines the price of one Bitcoin in AUD.
This freedom and absence of structure are two of the key selling points for Bitcoin advocates.
Is Bitcoin useful?
Bitcoin is far from a gimmick. In fact, there are an increasing number of businesses and individuals who are willing to accept Bitcoin as payment. This isn’t limited to online businesses either. Some restaurants and major retailers have begun to accept Bitcoin as payment.
Overall, Bitcoin value worldwide exceeds $100 billion. Not only that, people exchange millions of dollars of Bitcoins each day.
Bitcoin price: how do I buy one?
Typically, people acquire Bitcoins in one of three ways:
Buying bitcoins through an online exchange. You can trade a bitcoin for cash just like any other product.
Selling a product and receiving bitcoin in return as an alternative to cash.
Bitcoin mining: This requires some explanation.
Bitcoin mining: create your own
Realistically, bitcoin mining isn’t something you will need to know about. For the average person, bitcoins are acquired through buying or selling. However, bitcoin mining is fascinating, so we thought we’d explain it.
In order for Bitcoin system to operate, some people must make their computers process transactions for everyone.
In order to process these transactions, computers must solve insanely difficult maths problems (there are 64-digit numbers involved). Sometimes, when these problems are solved, the computer’s owner is rewarded with a bitcoin.
Given the limited supply of bitcoins, these sums increase in difficulty over time to ensure there aren’t too many coins being generated.
To put in context just how difficult bitcoin mining is, the chance of solving the problem on a single try is 1 in 13 trillion. That’s over 40,000 times more unlikely than winning the lottery. In other words, you’ll probably need more than a Macbook.
Bitcoin price: do I have to buy a whole bitcoin?
It’s possible to buy Bitcoins in fractions. In fact, you can divide one bitcoin into 100 million pieces!!
That means no matter how much cash you have to invest, some portion of a Bitcoin will almost certainly be affordable for you.
Whether it’s a good idea to buy $1 worth of Bitcoin is a different story, although it is possible should you choose to.
Advantages of Bitcoin
As a wholly online currency, Bitcoin brings with it a number of advantages. If you’re thinking of investing, consider the following:
Bitcoin price: anywhere, anytime
Bitcoin brings freedom. You can send or receive payments from anywhere in the world, at any time of day. There’s no need to wait for banks or business hours, you retain total control. Not only that, payments can be confirmed in the blink of an eye whereas international wire transfers can take days.
Sending and receiving bitcoins is free. If you go through an exchange to purchase Bitcoins initially, you may encounter deposit, withdrawal or purchase fees. These fees are typically minimal and less than those charged by banks or credit card networks.
Simple to set-up
You can buy bitcoin in any country, at any time. All you need is a Bitcoin wallet. There is also no need to prove your identity like you would have to with a bank.
Bitcoin transaction can be process without personal details. As such, risk of identity theft can be eliminated. In addition to this, coins may be stored offline to protect against the threat of hacking.
There is no controlling body in charge of maintaining Bitcoin. Instead, the control of Bitcoin is in the hands of its users. As such, there’s no need to worry about changes in policy or protocol which could adversely affect ownership.
Bitcoin Australia: what are the laws?
Bitcoin, virtual currencies and their related exchanges are all legal in Australia. In fact, Australia has adopted a highly progressive attitude towards Bitcoin.
While it is perfectly legal to buy and sell Bitcoin in Australia, there are tax implications to be aware of. Bitcoins are classified as property under Australian tax laws. As such, they are subject to Capital Gains Tax.
Like with any currency, Bitcoin has a price. A value that tells you the equivalent cost of one bitcoin in relation to your currency of choice. A simple Google search will bring up plenty of websites that let you track the Bitcoin live price.
If you’re from Australia, the Bitcoin to AUD price will be most relevant. Although, Bitcoin to USD is standard.
As an example, you might see the Bitcoin price at $10,000 AUD. That means it will cost you $10,000 AUD to buy one bitcoin. Simple, right?
What determines the Bitcoin price?
Like with most currencies, it’s about supply and demand. When demand for Bitcoin increases, so too does the price. Similarly, when demand decreases, the price will too.
Interestingly, there is a limit on Bitcoin supply. The number of Bitcoins is capped at 21 million and new Bitcoins are created at a predictable and decreasing rate.
Given the relatively small market and limited supply, Bitcoin is extremely sensitive to changes in demand. As a result, the price often fluctuates. In other words, it doesn’t take much to move the price up or down.
Why do people buy Bitcoin?
When most people learn about Bitcoin, typically, they want to know why they might need it.
Put simply, Bitcoin is an easy way to transfer money online. Rather than dealing with banks, exchange rates, brokers or a host of other red tape, Bitcoin provides a cheaper and faster alternative method of making payments.
Bitcoin, in essence, cuts out the middleman. You can transact directly with another party thereby increasing efficiency and eliminating any fees or costs that could be involved using traditional means.
But that’s not all, other reasons for buying Bitcoin include:
Bitcoin price speculation
Speculation is a risky finance strategy that involves buying or selling based on your expectations of price movements.
In other words, if you expect the price of the currency, in this case Bitcoin, to increase in the near future, you would buy the currency now. After the price increase, you would sell the currency to earn a profit.
Similarly, if you expect the Bitcoin value to decrease, you would sell the currency now. Following the price decrease, you may opt to buy again at a lower price.
Speculation, however, comes with significant risk. Bitcoin is, in a word, volatile. Prices fluctuate daily and with little predictability. In other words, the Bitcoin price today likely won’t be the Bitcoin price tomorrow.
Making profit from speculation relies on your projections of future prices being correct. If prices move in unexpected ways, speculation can produce significant losses.
Diversifying and the Bitcoin price
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Investing in Bitcoin may be an alternative to buying traditional currencies, shares or securities. In order to diversify, Bitcoin would make up a portion of the investor’s portfolio.
What are some of the issues with Bitcoin?
While Bitcoin can provide a simple, cheap and convenient alternative to traditional cash payments, there are some downsides. These include:
It won’t be accepted by everyone
Bitcoin is still a relative unknown to most people. While they recognise the name, often there is a lack of understanding about what it is and what it can be used for. As such, there is still a limited number of vendors willing to accept bitcoin as payment.
Although, there is reason for optimism. More and more businesses are adding bitcoin options each day. Slowly but surely, the network is growing.
Bitcoin price volatility
While you may buy one bitcoin today for $10,000, there’s no guarantee it will be worth that much tomorrow. The small market and limited supply means that the price is sensitive to relatively small transactions or changes in demand. If you’re someone who values stability or shies away from uncertainty, Bitcoin might not be for you.
It’s still developing
At this point, Bitcoin is still an unknown. The world has never seen anything like Bitcoin which makes it difficult to project where it might be heading. New features, tools and services are constantly under development aimed at increasing accessibility and security. In other words, Bitcoin is still a work in progress.
Transactions are final
Once you submit a transaction, there’s no going back. Transactions cannot be reversed and there’s no way to recover funds if you’ve made a mistake. As a result, ensure you double-check every transaction before you submit it.
How to buy bitcoin: finding the right exchange
If you’re keen to become a bitcoin trader, your first step will obviously be to buy bitcoins. The easiest way to do this through a Bitcoin Exchange.
An exchange is simply a digital marketplace where investors can buy (or sell) bitcoins using conventional money.
As Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have increased in popularity, so too have the number of exchanges. To help you decide which exchange is right for you, consider the following:
The exchange location and regulations
While Australia has been proactive in regulating digital currency exchanges, the same can’t be said for all countries. Find out where the exchange is based before signing up and take a look at the regulations of that country. Ensure the exchange complies with their regulations.
What security features are offered? This may include two-factor login authentication or encryption types.
Do your research to ensure the platform has never been hacked or linked to any kind of suspicious activity. In other words, confirm that it’s all above board.
Bitcoin price and fees
If you’re using an exchange, your transactions (i.e buying or selling) will incur a fee. In addition, some exchanges may add deposit or withdrawal charges. Before getting started, compare fees and rates to find the best deal.
Some exchanges may apply a minimum or maximum limit on purchases, deposits or withdrawals. Policies will vary among exchanges though, so be aware. Ensure you read the fine print.
Reputation and customer service
Check out the reviews of previous users. What were their experiences like? Are they positive or were there issues? This will give you the best guide as to the quality of the platform.
Customer service and willingness to assist is crucial too, should you encounter any issues. Ensure their contact details are provided and that they are contactable and responsive in the event that something goes wrong.
Before you buy your bitcoins, you’re going to need somewhere to store them. You’ll need a “bitcoin wallet”.
Essentially, a bitcoin wallet is a software program that stores your bitcoins. Although, to be technically accurate, the wallet doesn’t store the coin, it instead stores the private key, unique to the Bitcoin that tracks ownership and allows it to be spent.
In most cases, Bitcoins wallets store your information offline. That way, you are protected against malware, cyber hacks or threats that come with online storage.
Online storage is available too via web or mobile. These “hot wallets” are connected to the internet and come with the benefit that payments and withdrawals can be made instantly. The obvious downside is that they are less secure as online storage increases vulnerability to hacking.
Considerations may include:
Offline or online
Are they reputable and high-quality?
Tracking the Bitcoin price
There’s no shortage of bitcoin news. Nearly everyday there’s a new story about bitcoins, where they’re going, how they’re travelling, what they could become. Put simply, it’s easy to stay up-to-date.
There are also a number of free, high-quality apps that allow your to track the current bitcoin price in real time via a Bitcoin price chart. You’ll never be short on information meaning as long as you do your research, you’ll always be able to make an informed decision when it comes to buying or selling.
What happens if I lose my Bitcoin?
The problem with Bitcoin compared to cash or banked funds is that unfortunately they can be lost.
Bitcoins comes with a private key and a recovery seed. The private key gives you access to your bitcoin. The recovery seed is a string of words that stores the information needed to back-up a wallet.
If you lose both of these, your bitcoin will be lost.
Similarly, if you store your bitcoins on an offline device (e.g. external hard drive or USB) and the device gets misplaced, they will be unrecoverable.
Buy Bitcoin Australia: wrapping up
While we’ve provided you with plenty of information, there’s still so much more out there. Bitcoin is a volatile, potentially high-risk, virtual currency. While it can make transactions simple and convenient, it can also produce significant losses.
As always, before making any financial decision, do your research. Ensure you have a clear idea of your financial situation and know how much you can afford to invest. At the end of the day, you must decide what is right for you.
Disney Plus is the newest player in the digital streaming marketplace. Keen to subscribe but not sure what’s on offer? Monzi has put together a complete guide covering all you need to know. Let’s go!
What is Disney Plus?
Ask someone for their favourite childhood movie and there’s a good chance their answer will be a Disney movie. The Lion King, Aladdin, The Jungle Book and a host of others are childhood staples that are universally beloved.
Almost from birth, children around the world are introduced to the magic of Disney. Up until now though, there’s been no way to access all their movies in one place. That’s where Disney Plus comes in.
Disney Plus is Disney’s new digital streaming service. You can watch your favourite Disney shows and movies, on-demand across a range of different devices.
It’s not just for kids however. Disney Plus combines all your favourite Disney classics with a range of original series, National Geographic documentaries and recent Hollywood blockbusters. In other words, it’s perfect for all ages.
Disney Plus: how did we get here?
Disney Plus was inevitable. As the single largest entertainment company in the world, possessing an unending supply of movies and TV shows, Disney was never going to be content with sitting back and watching.
While Netflix has always been the dominant force, the market for online streaming has exploded and competition is increasing. Worldwide, the digital streaming marketplace is expected to be worth an estimated $125 billion USD by 2025. Disney Plus is simply Disney’s attempt to get a slice of the pie.
While it has been a few years in the making, it’s now here. Supplementing it’s already considerable back-catalogue with acquisitions of Pixar, LucasFilm, Marvel Studios and Fox over the last two decades, Disney Plus is able to offer something for everyone.
Disney Plus Australia release date
The good news is that Disney Plus has already been released in Australia. You can subscribe right now and begin watching your favourite movies and TV shows.
While the grand launch and initial Disney plus release date occurred on the 12th of November in the USA, Canada and the Netherlands, Australia was next on the list. Disney Plus launched in Australia and New Zealand on the 19th of November.
As you’d expect, the launch was a raging success. In the USA alone, more than 10 million subscribers signed up within the first week. While it remains to be seen if Disney Plus can maintain its subscribers over the long term, there’s no doubt Disney succeeded in creating significant initial excitement.
Disney Plus price
When you sign-up, you will receive a seven-day free trial. After that, Disney Plus will set you back $8.99 per month or $89.99 for a year.
While the Disney Plus Australia cost is similar to both Netflix and Stan, there is one key difference.
Every feature is included in the Disney Plus Australia price. You can stream simultaneously on up to four devices and watch in HD and 4K Ultra HD. You can also download your favourite shows giving you the option to watch offline. With Disney Plus, there are no price-tiers or premium subscriptions, it’s simply one-size fits all.
By comparison, a basic Netflix or Stan subscription offered at a similar price allows streaming on only one device with no 4K streaming options. In order to unlock the additional features, users must subscribe to Standard or Premium packages.
This is one way that Disney has been able to separate itself in the marketplace.
Disney Plus: what can I watch?
Unlike Netflix and Stan, Disney’s content is limited to only what it owns. This sounds like a deal breaker, but trust us, it’s not. While most companies couldn’t pull this off, Disney is the exception.
Disney’s collection of content is vast. Not only do they have a back-catalogue of films dating back almost 100 years, they own almost every film ever made by Pixar, Lucasfilm (Star Wars), Marvel Studios and Fox.
All-in-all, Disney Plus provides access to over 600 movies and 7000 television episodes.
Not only that, Disney has committed to creating a range of original movies and TV shows for you to enjoy.
Put simply, there will always be something for you to watch.
Disney Plus features
To complement its wide-range of content, Disney has designed a simple and easy-to-use service packed with a number of handy features. While it’s by no means a game-changer, it’s got everything you need.
Key features include:
A user-friendly interface
If you’ve subscribed to Netflix or Stan in the past, navigating Disney Plus shouldn’t be an issue. Content is laid out in a straightforward manner and it is separated into categories making it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Up to four profiles
You can create up to four profiles allowing everyone the freedom to create their own watchlist and keep track of their favourite content. Not only that, you can stream on all four profiles simultaneously across different devices.
You also have the option to set your favourite Disney character as your profile picture. Whether it’s Darth Vader, Elsa from Frozen or Aladdin, you can personalise your profile.
Download your favourite shows: watch offline
If you’re on the go and don’t want to use your mobile data, Disney Plus has you covered. You can download your favourite TV shows and movies onto your device to watch whenever and wherever you like.
4K ultra HD streaming
Disney Plus offers 4K ultra HD streaming. You can watch your favourite movies and TV shows in the highest quality available.
Do keep in mind though that not all content is available to stream in 4K. This will typically be limited to more recent releases.
What devices can I use to stream Disney Plus?
As with most streaming services, Disney Plus can be accessed on a range of different platforms. You can stream using whatever device suits you best.
Laptops and desktop computers
iOS (iPad and iPhone)
Android devices (phones and tablets)
Disney Plus content is here to stay
Given that Disney owns all the content available on its platform, there’s no need to worry about anything disappearing. Movies and TV shows that are available now, will almost certainly be available in the future.
If you’ve ever subscribed to Netflix, Stan or any other streaming service, you’ll notice that content is often turned-over regularly. Movies and TV shows may be offered for a period of months or years before being removed.
This is due to third-party licencing. Put simply, streaming services will buy the rights to offer content for a limited time. Should the licence expire, the content will be removed from the service.
Obviously, with Disney Plus there are no such concerns. As Disney own all their own content, there is no need for third-party agreements.
There’s more to come
While there’s plenty to watch right now, Disney Plus is far from complete. Over the coming months and years a number of movies and TV shows will be added. Why?
Well, it has to do with third-party licencing agreements. Currently, Disney has a number of pre-existing arrangements in place with various streaming services, allowing these services to offer Disney’s content.
As a result, Disney is unable to offer this content until these agreements expire or lapse. Over the coming years as these agreements expire, Disney will slowly but surely add more content to Disney Plus giving you more to enjoy.
How do I subscribe?
Joining Disney Plus in Australia is as easy as it gets. From start to finish, it will take just a few minutes.
To begin, head to the Disney Plus website and create an account. You’ll need to provide an email address, a few personal details as well as a credit or debit card.
Given all new customers receive a free seven-day trial, you will not be charged for your subscription until your trial is complete.
If, during the seven day period, you decide Disney Plus isn’t right for you, ensure you cancel your subscription. You will be charged the subscription fee if you fail to cancel your subscription prior to the trial ending.
Is Disney Plus available worldwide?
In Australia, we’re part of the lucky few able to access Disney Plus today. Currently, just five countries have access: Australia and New Zealand, the USA, Canada and curiously, the Netherlands.
Over time, the service will be progressively rolled out around the world, although it is estimated that this will take up to two years. The next stage of the rollout involves France, Italy, Spain and the UK in March 2020.
Is Disney Plus just for kids?
Not at all.
Firstly, you’re never too old to enjoy a Disney film. Whether you are five, fifteen or fifty, a classic is still a classic.
Secondly, Disney Plus’ range of content goes so far beyond just children’s content. While it will undoubtedly be a godsend for parents of young children, there will be something for you no matter your age.
To illustrate the range of content on offer, we’ve put together a guide of what you can watch. See below.
Get ready to re-live your childhood. Disney Plus is home to so many of your all-time favourites with plenty more on the way. These films provide the base upon which the service is built, the undeniable classics. Highlights include:
The Lion King (original and re-make)
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
The Jungle Book
The best of Pixar
Pixar was acquired by Disney in 2006 for approximately $7.4 billion. With it, came the rights to some of the most successful animated films of all-time. Between them Pixar’s films have won 19 Academy Awards and 8 Golden Globes. Now, 13 years later, you can stream them on Disney Plus.
Some of the best include:
Toy Story 1, 2 and 3
The Incredibles + The Incredibles 2
Disney Plus Marvel shows and movies
To say that Disney’s $4.24 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment was a bargain is a monumental understatement. In the 10 years following the deal, Disney has netted close to $20 billion on the back of box-office juggernauts including Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers.
Disney Plus brings your favourite Marvel titles into the one place. You can stream Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or the Avengers at your leisure.
There are also original Marvel shows on the way too. Keep an eye out in 2020 and 2021 for titles including Hawkeye, She Hulk and Ms Marvel.
Disney Plus makes it possible to watch your favourite films based in a galaxy far, far away. The rights to the Star Wars franchise was purchased by Disney through its 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm. Disney Plus gives you access to the complete Star Wars series, episodes one to seven, as well as recent hits Rogue One and Solo.
Original content: Disney Plus shows and movies
As you’d expect with the world’s largest entertainment company, there are no half-measures or short-cuts. Disney has poured significant resources into creating a range of original content to not only provide a unique selling point but to match their main competitor, Netflix, too.
The main drawcard is undoubtedly “The Mandalorian”, a live-action series, set in the Star Wars universe. If you love Star Wars, Disney Plus is a no-brainer.
Alternatively, if Star Wars isn’t your thing, that’s OK too. Maybe check out the re-imagined High School Musical TV series or the “Lady and the Tramp” live-action remake.
One interesting thing to note is that unlike Netflix, Disney Plus has opted to release its TV originals one episode at a time. A curious strategy given the on-demand nature of the society we live in.
Disney Channel favourites
While this won’t appeal to everyone, there are a range of Disney Channel TV classics that will transport 90’s and 00’s kids straight back to their childhood. Catch up on “Kim Possible”, “Hannah Montana” or “Phineas and Ferb” among a host of others.
This probably seems out of place. In any case, National Geographic came to be owned by Disney through its acquisition of Fox Studios. You can stream fascinating documentaries covering animals, nature and people. If nothing else, it’s a nice change of pace after you’ve been binge watching movies for a week.
A few other Disney Plus highlights
While we’ve covered most of what’s available, there are a few other notable yet miscellaneous movies and TV series worth mentioning.
The Home Alone series
Remember the Titans
The Parent Trap
The Princess Diaries
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Simpsons (29 Seasons!!!)
How do I compare Disney Plus to its competitors?
The digital streaming marketplace is highly competitive. With so many choices, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you.
While you could subscribe to them all, this can get expensive. Not only that, how much content do you really need?
For most people, one to two monthly subscriptions will be enough.
In order to compare streaming services, consider a few of the following factors:
Content (TV shows + movies, range of original content, compatibility with your interests)
Features: Can you stream offline? What streaming quality is available?
Subscription options: are there price tiers? Which subscription and its associated features works best for you?
Ease of use, app quality and user interface: is it simple to use?
Are there ads on Disney Plus?
As with Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime, when you subscribe you get to watch ad-free. That means there will be no interruptions while you watch your favourite movies and TV shows.
Who should subscribe to Disney Plus?
While Disney Plus may be for everyone, there are three particular categories of people who should consider signing up.
Parents of young children: this is a no-brainer. You get access to a ton of the greatest children’s movies of all-time so you can keep the kids entertained for weeks.
Sci-fi lovers: Star Wars and the Marvel Comic Universe in one place. How could you beat that?
Disney fanatics: If you love Disney, you’ll love Disney Plus. It really is that simple. Watch your favourite Disney titles from the last 90 years!
Disney Plus: is it right for me?
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. If, based on your interests, you feel that Disney Plus is right for you, go ahead and subscribe. There’s plenty to watch so we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
Descend into the depths of nostalgia by watching your favourite childhood classics, learn more about nature watching a National Geographic documentary, catch-up on the most recent Hollywood blockbusters or discover an original series.
Before getting started though, make sure it fits your budget. Subscription-based services are fast becoming part of everyone’s budget but they must still be affordable for you. For more information, the ASIC’s Moneysmart website provides a handy breakdown of how Aussies spend their money.
In any case, paying by the month means you’re not locked in. Keep your subscription for a month, a year or however long you please. It’s in your hands.
Holiday in Australia – Monzi investigates the best regional holiday destinations in the country. The outback is calling. Start exploring today!
Holiday in Australia: the best regional destinations Australia has to offer
Tourists from all over the world holiday in Australia, in particular, it’s interior. If you’ve done your research then it’s not hard to see why. After all, outback Australia boasts some of the most breathtaking, beautiful, quirky and outright weird people, places and sights in the world.
What is difficult to understand, however, is why don’t more Aussies check out what the outback has to offer? Not only are they cheap holiday destinations in Australia, but your tourism dollars will go a long way to boosting some of these outback towns’ struggling economies.
To give you some inspiration, we’ll go through a few of the best holiday destinations in regional Australia.
Where: Northern South Australia
Population: Approx. 1,762
Nearest city: Alice Springs (688 km to the north); Adelaide (846 km to the south)
How to get there: Fly, drive, train or bus.
The red-dust drive into Coober Pedy conjures up many things in one’s mind; from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to a martian landscape. Whatever this town makes you feel, you can be sure Coober Pedy rips you straight from your suburban comfort zone and smacks you straight into one of the strangest towns in Australia.
Widely regarded as the opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy is essentially one big mine. In fact, many of the town’s buildings and residences are burrowed beneath the ground. Colloquially known as ‘dugouts’, these dwellings offer the perfect, if not unique, way to escape the oppressive desert heat.
So, what is there to do in the town? Obviously, the many opal mine shafts that are dotted in and around the town are a curiosity worth seeing. Be aware, however, that Coober Pedy is still a working mining town. Therefore, it may be best to get some advice from the locals as to which shafts are currently disused and worth visiting.
After you see where opals begin, why not purchase an end-product? One of the town’s many jewellers are sure to look after you with the quintessential outback hospitality.
If you’re a movie buff then check out the Mad Max Museum. If the thought of dusty cars and memorabilia from the movie excites you, you should head to the museum as soon as you drop your bags off at your underground hotel.
In short, if you’re looking for something a little different, Coober Pedy has to be one of the weirdest and most wonderful holiday destinations in Australia.
Where: Central western Queensland
Population: Approx. 2,970
Nearest city: Brisbane (1,181 km to the south-east); Rockhampton (687 km to the east).
How to get there: Fly, drive, train or bus.
Longreach is affectionately known as the heart of outback Queensland. This is both cultural and geographical, with the town being almost smack-bang in the middle of the state. The town’s name comes not from its relative isolation from other major settlements, but it’s placement on the “long reach” of the Thomson River.
A visit to Longreach is like having the most quintessential outback tropes condensed into one town; stockmen, shearers, blood-red sunsets and never-ending skies. In short, there’s no shortage of things to see and do within the town.
The Stockman’s Hall of Fame is perhaps the town’s most famous attraction. Indeed, the Hall of Fame is potentially the premier institution celebrating outback heritage. Visitors can meander through the different displays and get a sense of the outback’s rich history – a history often forgotten by the city.
Did you know that Qantas is the third oldest airline in the world? Moreover, did you know that Longreach was the headquarters of the historic airline from 1921 to 1930? If not, the Qantas Founders Outback Museum is the place for you. Not only can you marvel at a full-scale replica of the airline’s first aircraft, but visitors are also given the opportunity to walk the wingspan of a Boeing 747.
Finally, for a hands-on experience of the old outback life, jump on board a Cobb and Co stagecoach ride through the town’s scrubland. While it is by no means the most comfortable ride of all time, the ride allows you to enjoy the sensation (bumps and all) of the bush’s original 4×4.
Where: South Australia
Nearest city: Adelaide (approx. 200 km to the south)
How to get there: Drive from Adelaide
In many ways, a holiday in the Flinders Ranges provides the best of what Australia has to offer; natural beauty tempered by state-of-the-art comforts.
Visitors can spend their days exploring the rugged and almost alien landscape and then return to the unparalleled luxury of an eco-resort. Or, you can keep your feet firmly grounded and sleep underneath the stars – it’s all up to you.
Driving through the ranges quickly instils a sense of scale. This is not just physical, as the rocky cliffs tower above you, but a sense of time; estimates of the formation of the ranges date back to 800 million years ago.
The age, history and deep significance of the ranges are best appreciated with an Aboriginal guide. Not only will you have the chance to study ancient Indigenous rock art, but also learn about the area’s bush tucker.
For something less traditional, jump on board the Pichi Richi Railway line. The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society runs restored steam and diesel trains from deep in the region’s past. In fact, the strip of track between Quorn and Port Augusta is the last remaining portion of the Old Ghan line still in use.
Finally, for the adventurous types among you, why not consider a tour with the most experienced camel trekking company in Australia? In fact, you can choose anything from a day trip to a 3 to 15 day extended trek.
Where: The Top End
Nearest city: Darwin (171 km to the northwest)
How to get there: 3 hr drive from Darwin.
Kakadu National Park is massive not only in its scale (nearly half the size of Switzerland) but its significance too – both culturally and environmentally.
Being a strict national park, the camping and accommodation options are centred around four main hubs. Here you can choose to stay in a hotel or cabin or hitch up your tent or caravan for the night. The perfect mix of untamed wilderness and modern amenities make Kakadu one of the best holiday destinations in Australia for families.
Once you’ve set yourself up, you’re free to explore the park. Give yourself plenty of time because there is a lot to see and do.
If you’re a bushwalker then Kakadu’s 20,000 square kilometres of parkland provides plenty of opportunities to get out and about. There are a number of established trails for you to take, ranging from medium through to moderate and difficult.
Waterfalls are another big drawcard for Kakadu, with the park boasting some of the most famous falls in the country. The best part? Visitors are free to swim in many of the pools, weather permitting. Although, just keep an eye out for any crocodiles.
Speaking of crocodiles, it is estimated that over 10,000 crocs call Kakadu home – and that doesn’t include hatchlings. Understandably, this may not be a huge plus for many visitors, but hey – it’s unique, right?
Where: Northern Western Australia
Population: Approx. 5,000
Nearest city: Darwin (884 km to the north-east)
How to get there: Fly or drive
Kununurra is one of those towns that most Aussies have heard of, but probably couldn’t point out on a map. Well, to answer your question, Kununurra lies in the eastern extremity of the Kimberly, just under 40 km from the Northern Territory border.
The town itself may not be one of the major holiday destinations in Australia, as many of the main attractions lie just outside.
Lake Argyle is a man-made freshwater reservoir roughly 19 times the size of Sydney Harbour. Luckily, there are many well-equipped resorts on the lake’s shore. In addition, the Lake Argyle infinity pool lets you spend your sunsets overlooking the water. Speaking of sunsets, we can’t recommend enough taking a sunset cruise over the lake. The tranquility of the lake makes it one of the best holiday destinations in Australia for couples.
Roughly 100 km outside of Kununurra lies El Questro Wilderness Park. Originally an immeasurably large cattle station, the owners decided to diversify into tourism – and we are very glad they did. It is reported the park stretches over an area of around 1 million acres, and apparently, parts of the park remain unexplored.
Here are our top destinations and things to do in El Questro Wilderness Park:
Hikes and treks
Swimming holes and hot springs
Towering and ancient gorges
Fishing – some locations only accessible via helicopter
Over 100 species of birds and other unique animals and plants
When people ask what our best holiday destinations in Australia are, we often suggest Kununurra and it’s not hard to see why.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park
Where: Tasmania’s central Highlands
Nearest city: Hobart (165 km to the south-east)
How to get there: Drive
Tasmania is, unfortunately, all too often forgotten on maps of Australia. Moreover, many mainland Aussies don’t consider Tassie when thinking of the best holiday destinations in Australia.
This is a real shame, as Tasmania offers so many experiences and sights not found on the mainland. Today, we’re going to share one of our favourite destinations on the island: Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Claire National Park.
The park is, obviously, home to Cradle Mountain, one of the most famous destinations in Tasmania. Moreover, the Overland Track is one of the premier bushwalking tracks in Australia, if not the world.
While the park is relatively isolated and away from major population hubs, there are many accommodation options available to visitors.
The lake is abundant with native wildlife including echidnas, wallabies, quolls, wombats, possums, birdlife and of course, the Tasmanian devil. If you’re thinking of wetting a line, trout fishing is permitted in certain months.
Planning your regional holiday
While a regional holiday is never a bad idea, it’s important to know to your budget. That way, you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend on flights, accommodation, experiences and all the other costs associated with taking a holiday.
To get you started, the ASIC’s free MoneySmart Budget Planner is the place to go. It’s simple, easy-to-use and will categorise your expenses so you can calculate your holiday budget in no time.
Holiday in Australia: FAQs
Is Good Friday a public holiday in Australia?
Is New Year’s Day a public holiday in Australia?
Do I need a passport to fly domestically?
You may need to show some photo ID, but you generally do not need your passport.
Is it dangerous to drive in the outback?
Australia is generally a very safe place to drive. Being self-sufficient on the road is the main thing you need to concern yourself with. For example, the gap between fuel stations in certain parts of the country may be over 300 km. Finally, be cautious of the wet and dry seasons, especially up north.
Can I call 000 in the outback?
Yes; you can call 000 from anywhere in Australia. However, keep in mind, the sheer size of regional Australia may result in delays.
Holiday in Australia: it’s up to you
While we’ve given you a small taste of what regional Australia has to offer, there’s so much more to discover. It doesn’t where you are because there’s sure to be a cracking regional holiday destination just down the road. So, do your research and find the best destination for you.
In recent years, the media landscape has changed in a big way. The introduction of television, movie and music streaming platforms has revolutionised the way we access media. Nowadays you can watch what you want, when you want, wherever you want. However, as the market for streaming services grows increasingly diverse, it has become more difficult to decide which streaming service is best for you. Luckily, Monzi has put together a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know.
Monzi is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
The battle for the best streaming service: the main players
Want access to endless amounts of on-demand, commercial-free movies and TV shows? You’re going to need to subscribe to a streaming service.
For an affordable monthly price, streaming services allow you to access thousands of hours of content across a range of genres. In most cases, they’ll combine original content with a range of classic TV shows and movies as well as a few undiscovered gems.
In Australia, the market for these subscription-based services is dominated by four major players: Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now and Amazon Prime.
While you may want to subscribe to them all, if you’re on a budget this may not be possible. Realistically, you probably only need one or two subscriptions at a time.
If you are stuck and not sure which one is right for you, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide.
Netflix: the popular choice for the best streaming service
While there is plenty of competition, as it stands, Netflix is the top dog in both the Australian and global streaming marketplace.
First launched in Australia in 2015, Netflix quickly established itself as the go-to streaming service for many Aussies. While this is in some ways attributable to the strong brand awareness that Netflix had already established, most notably in the USA, their content really is top notch.
Combining critically acclaimed original content with a host of high-quality TV shows and movies, Netflix has something for everyone. If you’re only looking to subscribe to one service, you can’t go wrong with Netflix.
Basic: $8.99 per month (Watch on one screen at a time)
Standard: $13.99 per month (Watch on up to two screens at once)
Premium: $19.99 (Watch on up to four screens at once)
HD and Ultra HD streaming options available
Download your favourite shows so you can watch offline
High-quality, diverse, original and existing content
30 day free trial
If you’re keen to support the local industry, Stan is the one for you. Created through a joint venture between Fairfax Media and Channel Nine, Stan is easily the best Australian streaming service (homegrown that is).
While much of their initial success was generated through acquiring the rights to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Stan has slowly branched out into creating its own original content. Not only that, a partnership with Disney allowed Stan to offer some of the world’s most popular movie titles including the complete Marvel universe.
Overall, Stan is a high-quality, all-around option that will provide you with value for money.
Basic: $10 per month (Watch on one screen at a time)
Standard: $14 per month (Watch on up to three screens at once)
Premium: $17 per month (Watch on up to four screens at once)
HD and Ultra HD streaming options
Watch offline: download your favourite shows
30 day free trial
Stream on up to four devices at once
Foxtel Now was in large part born out of Foxtel’s realisation that the classic pay TV model likely wouldn’t be sustainable into the future. Their move into an on-demand streaming platform signalled a clear shift in strategy.
While it is priced at the top end of the market, Foxtel Now can be tailored to suit your preferences. Content is separated into different packages so you can access the shows, movies, sports or documentaries that you want to watch. Not only that, with a Foxtel Now subscription you can stream Foxtel’s channels live
While Foxtel Now may not be the right choice if you’re on a budget, given that it costs at least twice as much as its competitors, the personalised element is a key point of difference.
Prices start at $25 per month for the essential base pack. From there, you can choose to purchase additional packages to suit your preferences.
$29 per month for the sport package
$10 per month for the drama pack
$20 per month for movies
$10 per month to add kids entertainment
$10 per month for documentaries.
These packages are optional though. You are able to pick all, one or none depending on you budget. The base pack, however, is non-negotiable.
10 day free trial
Live sport + additional preferred content available. Tailor your package to suit your needs
Stream a range of Foxtel’s channels live
HD and Ultra HD streaming
No installation costs (unlike traditional Foxtel subscription)
Amazon Prime Video: The best streaming service for movies
The final main player in the market is Amazon Prime Video. While Amazon was originally a company focused on e-commerce, over time they’ve diversified into a number of different fields, with media streaming being one of these.
As with its competitors, Amazon provides both existing and original content for you to enjoy. While Amazon Prime has plenty to offer, there’s no doubt their main drawcard and selling point has been the Grand Tour, built off the success of Top Gear.
If you are looking for a point of difference, Prime Video is arguably the best movie streaming service. While it may not offer the same volume of TV shows you’d find on Netflix or Stan, there a ton of great films to entertain films buffs of all ages.
Best of all, it’s clearly the cheapest option, so if you’re saving your pennies, it might be the right choice for you.
$6.99 per month which enables you to stream content on up to three screens at one time
Prime Video original television dramas, documentaries and movies
HD and Ultra HD streaming options
Extensive range of movies available
Free 30 day trial
Try before you buy: find the best streaming service for you
One thing you will notice when you sign up is that all four options offer a free trial. Netflix, Stan and Prime Video all offer a free 30 day trial while you can get 10 days of Foxtel Now for free. So, why not take advantage?
Before putting down your hard earned cash, why not try before you buy? While we can list the key features and prices, nothing beats testing it for yourself. If you plan it well, you can get more than three consecutive months of access for nothing.
If you do sign up for a free trial but do not wish to subscribe, remember to cancel. Failing to cancel your subscription by the end of the trial period means you will be charged the monthly fee.
How many subscriptions is too many?
This will depend on your budget.
While subscribing to every possible service would ensure you never run out of things to watch, it might not be the best thing for your financial situation. After all, subscription costs can quickly add up.
If you’re not sure what you can afford to spend each month, making a budget is a great place to start. The ASIC’s Moneysmart Budget Planner is a free online tool that makes creating a budget a breeze. Your expenses are categorised so you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend.
Finding the best streaming service: the newcomers
The already competitive streaming market is about to get a whole lot more crowded. On the back of the success of services like Netflix and Stan, global entertainment giants Disney and Apple have decided to get involved too.
As you’d expect with two of the world’s largest companies, there are no half-measures. Both companies have invested significant resources into developing a high quality service complete with original content to ensure you’re getting value for money as a consumer.
Apple launched their Apple TV+ streaming service on November 1st while Disney+ is scheduled to roll out later this month.
$8.99 per month
Disney is undoubtedly the largest entertainment company in the world. With their extensive back catalogue of content, establishing their own streaming service really was a no-brainer.
While it’s tough to provide a complete overview given the service is yet to launch, there is still plenty of information out there.
What we know for sure is that in terms of content, Disney+ will give you access to all of their most recent Hollywood blockbusters, iconic childhood classics as well as an exciting range of original shows and movies.
While you’re never too old for a Disney classic, you can almost guarantee that Disney+ will be an absolute gift for parents of young children.
$7.99 per month
With the success of Netflix and Prime Video as well as the ever-growing demand for instant streaming options, it really was only a matter of time before Apple threw their hat in the ring.
With its recent launch, Apple TV+ marks Apple’s second foray into the media streaming marketplace, following on from their highly successful Apple Music product.
In terms of content, Apple have taken a quality over quantity approach. Which means if you choose to subscribe, don’t go in expecting to find a library as vast as the one you’d find on Netflix.
Apple instead opted to focus on creating a number of top-notch original series. This includes “The Morning Show” starring Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as well as “See” starring Jason Momoa.
So, if you’re looking to discover a range of new, never-before seen shows, Apple TV+ could be the choice for you. On the flipside though, if you value diversity and choice, you may need to look elsewhere.
The best streaming service: the networks
With more and more Australians moving away from traditional, commercial television, the existing networks found themselves in a pickle. How could they hold onto their viewership in the face of increasing competition from streaming services?
The solution came in the form of their own, free-to-use streaming services. Rather than sitting down and watching a show when it airs, you can watch on-demand at a time of your choosing.
Do keep in mind though that as these services are free, if you are dealing with one of the commercial networks (i.e. Channel 7,9 or 10), you will encounter ads.
Contrary to what you might expect, the Government broadcaster was actually the first mover in Australian on-demand TV streaming. Launched in 2008, iView is arguably still the high-water mark when it comes to the distribution of network content online.
You can watch live or on-demand so you never miss your favourite ABC shows. Recent episodes are available for 14 days after they air so there’s always plenty of time to catch-up.
Sign up for a free account and watch you favourite SBS shows, documentaries, movies and news on-demand. New episodes are available after they air but get in quick as they are only offered for a limited time.
If you’re looking to save money, options like iView and SBS on-demand can be lifesavers. You can access all the content you need while not paying a cent. Obviously though, the range of content you can access will be limited.
7plus and 9Now: the commercial networks
While 7plus and 9Now allow you to watch your favourite network shows live or on-demand, there is one significant drawback, commercial breaks still exist. While we all hate ads, unfortunately, that’s the trade-off that comes with using some free services. In the end, it is a necessary sacrifice if you wish to watch your Channel 7 or 9 shows live or on-demand.
10 All Access
Unlike its network rivals, Channel 10 offers a paid subscription option for those looking to access a range of TV shows. For $10 per month you can subscribe to 10 All Access, through which you can find plenty of Australian and American programs.
The recent acquisition of Channel 10 by American network CBS means they are able to offer access to shows such as Elementary, Survivor and NCIS, ad-free and on-demand.
Alternatively, you can access a range of Channel 10 programming for free through 10Play. This is similar to the products offered by other networks.
Kayo: The best streaming service if you love your sport
If you love your sport, Kayo is simply a must-have. Launched by Foxtel, Kayo brings together all your favourite sports into one place. You can watch games live or on-demand in HD on up to three devices at once.
Content is presented in a simple, easy-to-use layout similar to the other TV streaming services (e.g. Netflix). In addition to live action, there are plenty of documentaries and shows covering all your favourite sports. Put simply, it’s a sports lover’s paradise.
Best of all, given you pay by month, you can subscribe when you need it. For instance, if you’re a rugby league fan and want to watch every game live, you can subscribe to Kayo from March through September. Once the season’s finished you can cancel your subscription so you’re not paying for something you don’t need.
Alternatively, if you are a huge sports fan, you can subscribe year around and be guaranteed there will always be something to watch.
Basic package: $25 per month (Up to two devices at once)
Premium package: $35 per month (Up to three devices at once)
Which is the best streaming service for music?
Gone are the days of carrying around your music on CDs. At this point, even loading your music onto an iPod seems ancient. These days, music streaming services are all the rage.
For a small monthly fee, you can access just about any song ever recorded. Rather than paying for the whole album, you can download or stream your favourite songs on-demand.
While the music streaming market may not be as competitive as the television market, there are still plenty of services vying for the title of best music streaming service in Australia.
Just as we did with the TV streaming, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you answer the million dollar question. “What is the best music streaming service for me?”
Read on and you’ll have your answer in no time.
What Netflix is to television streaming, Spotify is to music streaming. With over 140 million users worldwide, Spotify revolutised the way music is streamed and accessed. Put simply, it was a game changer.
So what makes Spotify one of the top music streaming services? Well, they helped introduce many of the key features that are now taken for granted.
First of all, Spotify’s extensive catalogue of over 35 million tracks allows you to make playlists to suit your tastes.
Spotify also makes it easy to discover a great range of new music. You can follow your friends to see what they’re listening to or sample one of the many playlists Spotify curated specifically to suit your preferences.
With a subscription, you also have the option to download your favourite playlists and albums. That way, you can listen offline, meaning there’s no need to use your mobile data when you’re on the go.
Overall, Spotify is still the benchmark when it comes to music streaming. It has everything you could ever need.
Spotify subscriptions come in three forms:
Student: $5.99 per month. You must be an enrolled student at an accredited college or university in order to be eligible.
Individual: $11.99 per month with 30 days free. Streaming available on only one account.
Family: $17.99 Stream anywhere on up to 6 devices at once.
The best streaming service that’ll cost you nothing: A free subscription with Spotify
While a paid subscription gives you complete access to Spotify’s full list of features, they do offer a free subscription option too. If that’s something you’re looking for, you’re in luck because it’s undoubtedly the best free music streaming service there is.
If you opt for a free subscription over a paid one, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. First, and most importantly, ads will be included between every few songs.
In addition to this, you will encounter a few restrictions. While you can select your favourite albums or playlists, you cannot play one particular song. Instead you must play the album or playlist and wait until the song comes around, based on the randomised order.
Finally, you can only skip six songs per hour, so choose wisely.
Ultimately, if you can handle these differences, then a free subscription is the way to go. However, the freedom and features that come with a paid subscription are tough to ignore.
As you might expect, Apple Music is Apple’s attempt to fight back against Spotify.
With a huge library of songs, Apple Music matches Spotify in just about every way possible. You’re able to stream on-demand and can download your favourite songs and playlists allowing you to listen offline.
One cool feature you get with Apple Music is the ability to tune into a range of radio stations. Whether you’re into jazz, alternative or rock, it doesn’t matter because you can find a radio station to suit your preferences.
Ultimately, Apple Music and Spotify are both excellent products so you won’t be disappointed either way.
The prices for Apple Music match those for Spotify. One key difference though is that Apple Music offers a three month free trial!!
Student: $5.99 per month. You must be an enrolled at an accredited college or university to be eligible.
Individual: $11.99 per month. Stream on one device.
Family: $17.99 Stream anywhere on up to 6 devices at once.
Tidal: the best streaming service for high-quality audio
As the first artist-owned streaming service, Tidal go about things a little differently. With controlling owners including Jay-Z and Kanye West, Tidal has a number of unique selling points that could make it the right choice for you.
Key to this is the range of exclusive content on offer. While Spotify and Apple Music provide access to tens of millions of songs, the only place you’ll find Jay Z’s music is on Tidal.
Not only that, there is an extensive range of playlists, concert and event live-streaming, interviews and podcasts that you won’t find anywhere else.
Finally, Tidal offer audio quality not found on Spotify or Apple Music. While you will require the more expensive Tidal HiFi subscription, the FLAC and MQA lossless audio formats are an audiophile’s dream. You can listen to your favourite tracks in the quality they were intended to be heard.
Overall, Tidal might be the choice for the true music fans among us. If exclusivity and audio-quality are something you value, you won’t be disappointed.
Tidal Premium: $11.99 per month (Free 30 day trial)
Tidal HiFi: $23.99 per month (All the features of Tidal Premium with access to high quality audio options)
Amazon Music Unlimited
Like with Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited is Amazon’s attempt to capture some of the music streaming marketplace.
With many of the expected features including an extensive catalogue, offline streaming and personalised playlists, Amazon Music Unlimited offers a streaming service that is perfectly adequate.
If you do like the idea of keeping your media subscriptions under the one umbrella, combining a Prime Video subscription with Music Unlimited may be a good plan.
Overall, however, Music Unlimited seems to lack a point of difference (e.g. exclusive content) that would make it desirable over the more established services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
$11.99 per month (30 day free trial included)
The best streaming service for you: it’s your call
At the end of the day, each streaming service will offer something a little different. While we’ve tried to give you a comprehensive guide to help you out, it ultimately comes down to what you value.
If you value exclusivity, you may score Tidal higher than Spotify or Apple Music. By the same token, if diversity of content is important to you, you will likely subscribe to Netflix or Stan rather than Prime Video.
Put simply, the choice is yours. Pick wisely and enjoy your streaming.
Christmas time is a period filled with fun, friends, family, and food!! While it’s a time for giving, if you’re not careful, Christmas can put a significant dent in your savings. To help you do Christmas on a budget and ensure your spending doesn’t get out of control, we’ve put together a list of the most effective money saving hacks we know. So read on and Monzi will help make managing the Christmas period a breeze.
Monzi is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
Christmas on a budget: where to begin?
If you’re looking to save money this Christmas, creating a budget is a must. In fact, it should always be your first step, any time you’re looking to save money. That way, you can assess your income and expenses so you know how much you can afford to spend.
There are plenty of great online, budget-building resources which make creating your budget a breeze. The ASIC’s MoneySmart Budget Planner is a great place to get started. Your expenses are categorised so you can see exactly where you money is going each month. You might even be able to cut costs to give yourself a few extra dollars to spend this holiday period.
At the end of the day, Christmas is only one day out of 365 in a year. While you may want to make it spectacular, don’t compromise your current financial situation to do so.
Set your limits
Once you have your budget, you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend. Make sure you stay disciplined and don’t go over budget.
It doesn’t matter what you’re buying. It could be food, drinks or gifts but make sure you set a limit and stick to it!!
Spending a little extra on an item here or there might not seem like much but if you’re not careful, you can find yourself over-budget in no time.
A handy tip is to set a time limit on how long you will spend in the shopping centre. It could be half an hour, an hour or even longer. The idea though is to stop you from being tempted to hang around and buy things you don’t need.
This may seem harsh but not every person in your life needs or deserves a gift. While it’s a nice thought and will be appreciated, in most cases, within a few months people won’t remember who did and didn’t buy them a gift. This is even more true for gifts that are generic or unoriginal (E.g. a gift card).
So, don’t spread yourself thin. Instead, only buy presents for the friends and family you see as most important. Only buying presents for a few people means you can spend a little bit more on each of them too. It’s a simple way to do Christmas on a budget.
Ultimately, while it feels good to give people presents, your financial health should always come first. Focus your energy on a few people and save money you otherwise would have spent.
Christmas on a budget: accepting minimalism
While you may want to go all out when it comes to Christmas decorations, there really is no need. Fairy lights, tinsel, knick-knacks and a huge Christmas tree are great in theory but at most, you’ll only get one month’s use out of them so don’t spend too much.
A small Christmas tree will only set you back a few bucks and while it won’t exactly fill a room with Christmas cheer, it does the job. Throw in a few other decorations around the house and you can create a festive feel with limited resources.
Let’s be honest, after the initial excitement of putting everything up, the decorations fade into the background pretty quickly.
Wait for the sales
This will involve some planning and agreements with family and loved ones, but if you’re looking to do Christmas on a budget, delaying your gift exchanges can potentially save you a ton of money.
We all know about the much hyped Boxing Day Sales. In the days following Christmas, shops slash their prices meaning it’s the best time to snag a great deal.
Rather than fighting the crowds in the days before Christmas, take advantage of the sales. You may be able to cut your Christmas spending considerably if you know where to look.
Who said gifts have to be exchanged on the 25th of December? Receiving a gift a few days later is no less special and it will almost certainly save you money.
Create your own traditions: ensuring you can do Christmas on a budget
More than almost any other day of the year, Christmas is a day of tradition and social conformity. Typically, most people spend time with family and friends, eat turkey and Christmas pudding and give gifts. Every year, it’s the same thing.
In most cases, this is all you’ve ever known but why not ask yourself what you really want out of the holiday period.
Realistically, you have control over what you do. If you don’t want to travel, buy gifts or spend time with family, you don’t have to. You’re free to do Christmas your way.
Creating your own Christmas traditions means you can have fun your way while ensuring it fits with your budget. There’s no need to spend money on a turkey or a gift for someone you don’t really care about. Make your own choices.
Share the load
If you’re hosting Christmas and you’ve got the whole family coming around for dinner, make sure you spread out the responsibilities. Just because it’s at your house doesn’t mean you have to provide all the food and beverages.
When you’re in the early stages of planning, make a list of everything you need and assign an item or two to each of the guests that will be attending. For example, maybe Aunty Margaret has to bring the pavlova, while you’re brother is in charge of beer.
Make Christmas a team effort and ensure that the burden doesn’t fall solely on your shoulders. You cut your costs while still hosting a 10/10 Christmas filled with food, family and fun.
Make your own gifts
If you’re willing to put in the time, there are a ton of simple, cheap, DIY gifts that won’t set you back more than a few bucks per present.
If you’re the creative type, why not make your own jewellery or even pick up a basic candle making kit. Maybe you’re skilled enough with a sewing machine to make blankets, pencil cases, purses or clothing. Material is so cheap and you can buy in bulk so presents can be mass produced.
Although, if you, like many of us, don’t possess the creative or artistic gene, that’s OK too. Get into the kitchen and whip up some baked goods or even make some fun I.O.U vouchers in no time.
The great thing about DIY gifts is that people love to feel special and a handmade gift shows that you’ve put in time, effort and thought.
Let’s be honest, as an adult, most of the Christmas gifts you receive are underwhelming. Seriously, how many scented candles, gift cards or socks does a person need?
Most of the time you’d be just as happy with no gift at all. So, rather than simply bowing to the gift-giving tradition, be proactive. In the lead-up to Christmas, discuss with your family the possibility of eliminating presents.
While there may be some pushback, if they agree, you save money on buying presents and don’t have to fake excitement when you open another lacklustre gift from that Aunt you see once a year. It’s a win-win.
If you’re not quite ready to do away with gifts but still want to do Christmas on a budget, Secret Santa might be the fun alternative for you.
Rather than buying gifts for everyone, you only need to buy for one person so your shopping is done fast.
In the weeks before Christmas, get together with your family or friends and draw names out of a hat. Set a spending limit (usually around $20) and send everyone on their way. Come Christmas day, everyone will have a present and be none-the-wiser as to who their mysterious benefactor is.
To spice things up, have a theme that the gifts must fit or maybe introduce gift-stealing. Referred to as White Elephant among other things, each guest has the opportunity to steal the gift they want. You can find the full rules online but you’re more than welcome to tweak them to suit your family.
It’s a lot of fun and surely nothing encapsulates the Christmas spirit more than seeing the hope disappear from someone’s eyes as you steal a gift they loved.
The final gift-giving alternative we can offer you is to only buy presents for the children in your life. While it’s always cool to receive a present, as an adult, there’s no doubt some of the shine has come off the custom.
For kids, though, opening a present is the height of the human experience. Nothing puts a smile on a child’s face like getting to tear through the layers of wrapping paper to uncover the hidden treasure within.
Buying presents just for the kids allows you to save money while still getting the satisfaction that comes with making someone smile. Let’s be honest, as an adult, do you really need presents?
Regifting: a questionable yet effective strategy
The ethics of regifting have long been discussed and while it may be a questionable practice, it can be a handy option if want to do Christmas on a budget. Collect any unwanted gifts or freebies you receive through the year and store them somewhere ready for Christmas.
If you want to become an expert regifter, there are a few tips to be aware of.
First, if you plan to regift a present, always take note of who gave it to you in the first place. That way, you can avoid looking like a total fool by giving someone the present they gave to you in the first place.
Second, ensure the gift has no identifying features or personalised elements. Gifting someone an item that was clearly meant for you is a sure-fire way to get found out.
Third, don’t regift a present nobody wants. If you receive a bad present, get rid of it, don’t pass the problem onto someone else.
Finally, don’t get caught out. While it may be a cost-effective strategy, if you are found to be regifting, you will likely lose face. So be smart about it.
Managing Christmas on a budget: don’t buy what you can’t afford
This tip is at the core of managing your finances and sticking to a budget. While you may have your eye on the perfect gift, if it’s out of your price range, do not over-extend yourself.
At the end of the day, while showing someone you care through a great gift is admirable, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your financial health.
Make sure you shop around though as you may be able to find the item at a better price somewhere else. Maybe even consider buying second-hand. If you’ve exhausted those options though, your best idea is to start saving your pennies and wait until the person’s next birthday or even the following Christmas.
If there is something you just must have and you’ll stop at nothing to acquire it, a personal loan may be a viable strategy to help cover your cash shortfall. Monzi’s lender-finder service makes it convenient to be matched with lenders offering personal loans.
You might be able to get the cash you need today while spreading the costs over the upcoming months.
Hunt down the best deal
This tip is Money Saving 101 and is great advice all year round. Around Christmas though, it takes on extra significance.
In the lead up to the big day, you’ll be buying food, drinks, presents, decorations, toys and the list goes on. With all the money you will be spending, it pays to shop around.
Unless you’re looking for a specific product, most items can be bought from a number of different places. Whether it’s online or in a store, buying an item from the first place you find it is a sure way to cost yourself money.
To make your life easier, if you’re shopping online there are a number of comparison websites out there that can make finding the best deal a breeze.
If you really want to maximise your savings consider shopping at discount chains, avoid brand names or even buy second-hand. Most of the time, you won’t even notice the difference.
If you’re a member of a supermarket’s loyalty program, using your points can help you save money on your Christmas food shopping. Exchange your points for gift cards or discounts and you can cut down your food bill quite considerably.
Rather than cashing in your points throughout the year, save them. Once December rolls around, you’ll have a bank of points you can lean on to help make your costs a little bit more manageable. You could even make Christmas a little more extravagant with the money you’ve saved.
Lay-by and Afterpay
Instead of paying the full purchase price when you buy a gift, why not spread the costs to make them easier to manage?
Lay-by and Afterpay provide two convenient payment alternatives that mean buying gifts won’t compromise your budget.
You might be able to receive the item today, while the purchase is divided into a number of regular repayments made over a period of weeks or months.
That way, you can still do Christmas on a budget and afford the gifts that you’ve had your eye on for a while.
Although, keep in mind that Monzi is unable to provide any guarantees and you would have to consult each vendor in regards to their lay-by policy or relationship with Afterpay.
Make some money: Christmas on a budget done differently
Rather than trying to save your money, why not try to make some money? We all have stuff lying around the house that we don’t need or use and could potentially sell for a tidy profit.
A good rule to follow is to ask yourself “have I used this item in the last year?” If the answer is no, there’s a good chance you don’t need it and it’s simply taking up space in your house.
If you’ve only got a few items to offload, Facebook Marketplace is the place to go. You can post ads for free and have people contact you directly. There’s no need to go through third parties and you can negotiate a deal that works for you.
On the other hand, if you’ve been hoarding junk for a while and have a range of items you’d like to move on, a garage sale could be a good idea. Post your flyers around the neighbourhood and let the people come to you. If it all goes to plan, you can make a few hundred dollars for a morning’s work.
Plan your travel early
If you’re looking to get away for Christmas or travelling to see family, booking your tickets early is crucial. The Christmas period is renowned for being the most expensive time of the year to travel and last minute fares can be extortionate.
So, start making your plans now. Through October and November nail down how and where you’re going to spend the Christmas period. As soon as your plans are set, get online and buy your tickets. That way, come December, you won’t have to decide between compromising your budget and seeing your family.
Like with all products, make sure you shop around. There are plenty of great comparison websites out there so you can ensure you get the best possible deal. Compare airlines and flight times to identify the most cost-effective strategy.
Finally, don’t be afraid to travel on a budget airline. While you may need to sacrifice some comfort, at the end of the day, all you’re trying to do is get from A to B. You’ll save money and still get where you need to go.
Christmas on a budget: surviving New Year’s Eve
With Christmas inevitably comes New Year. While the dawn of a new year is something to celebrate, if you’re on a budget it can be tricky to balance fun with financial responsibility.
While we all want to spend a night on the town, if you’re buying dinner, drinks and paying for an Uber, it can be an expensive night. So, why not do things a little differently?
Get together with your friends and come up with a different plan of attack. A great idea is to have a little get-together at your place. Invite a few of your closest friends, divide the food and drink responsibilities up evenly and enjoy the night.
A night out is one way to have fun but it’s not the only way. Be creative and try to find a way to make your night memorable and enjoyable without having to spend too much. We promise it’s possible.
Once you’ve dealt with Christmas 2019, start planning for next year. By putting away just a few dollars a week you could turn Christmas 2020 into quite the celebration.
Even if you’re not focusing on saving for Christmas, developing good saving habits is always a good idea.
Open a savings account with a competitive interest rate and try to make regular deposits throughout the year. If you’re disciplined, there’s a good chance you’ll have a few extra dollars to spend come December. Also, if anything goes wrong for you financially, there will be no need to borrow money as you’ll have a nice little savings nest egg to fall back on.
If you’re really proactive, shop the sales throughout the year. Rather than buying all your presents in December, if you pick up a gift here and there through the year you can spread out your costs making them much more manageable.
Christmas on a budget: do it your way
When it comes down to it, you can do Christmas 1000 different ways. While there’s the tried and true, traditional approach, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it your way.
Want to cut costs? Do it.
Hate turkey? Don’t eat it. Get creative. Make a meal you want to eat.
Don’t want to exchange gifts? That’s OK, it shouldn’t be an obligation.
If you’re trying to save money it’s really simple to do Christmas on a budget. Consider the hacks we’ve outlined and decide which of them work best for you. You never know, this could be the best Christmas you’ve ever had.