It’s that time of year when we dust off the fairy lights and compete with the neighbours to be the most extravagant house on the street. Aussies love to deck the halls. In fact, we love it so much that we’re planning to drop $1 billion on decorations this Christmas.

Yet festive decor and Christmas light running costs can drain the wallet and ramp up your energy bill. Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, shares tips to help you deck the halls without blowing the budget – or the fuse box.

Christmas lights energy consumption

When it comes to Christmas lighting, all that glitters is gold – mostly for your energy provider. Research conducted by finder last Christmas found that the collective cost of running light displays over the four-week holiday period totalled $163 million.

Switch to energy efficient lighting

Counteract these costs by choosing energy efficient Christmas lighting. This style uses LED or fibre-optic globes, which consume 75 per cent less energy than regular bulbs and last 10 years longer.

Solar lighting is also a good idea for outdoor decorating. Not only is it simple to set up, but it’s also environmentally friendly, fast-tracking you to the top of the nice list.

Impressive energy efficient Christmas lights on the exterior of a house

How much do Christmas lights cost to run?

Energy bills are calculated based on the average number of hours per day you use electricity. Leaving your Christmas lights on all night will increase these hours by a substantial amount over the holiday period.

Set a timer

If you have yet to switch to incandescent lighting, make sure to use an automatic timer if possible. There’s no need to have lights running day and night. Sticking to a set number of hours each day will prevent any nasty surprises when your next bill arrives.

LED Christmas snowman on the front yard

Stock up at cheap and cheerful stores

Christmas decorations are one thing you can shamelessly skimp on at Christmas. Shopping at two-dollar stores will give you more bang for your buck when sprucing up your house. Wreaths and Christmas trees are often double the price at higher-end retailers, with minimal difference.

Don’t be afraid to DIY either. If you’re lacking inspiration, there are scores of Christmas craft blogs and websites dedicated to low-cost decorating ideas. Try to avoid throwing out your decorations post-Christmas as well. That way you won’t have to repurchase them again the following year, leaving a little extra jingle in your pocket.

Children DIY Christmas tree decorations

Choose battery-operated items

Battery-operated lighting or decor is a smart way to cut back on the cost and energy usage of powered Christmas decorations. There’s an increasingly sophisticated range of cheap, battery-operated lighting available, which is ideal for those hard to reach places where there aren’t any sockets. You can use battery lights both inside and out, and most come with automatic timers.

You don’t have to be a total grinch to save money at Christmas. There are plenty of low-cost lighting options to power-up your place at a fraction of the usual price without wasting energy. By making a few simple tweaks to your decorating regime, you can easily save yourself a few bucks this Christmas.

Author

Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything. She regularly appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and property advice. She's passionate about helping Australians make more informed decisions so they can improve their quality of life.

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