If your sanity and bank balance only just scraped through Christmas 2011, what are the best ways to get prepared well in advance for Christmas 2012?


Are you better off with an old-fashioned Christmas Club account or should you get your head into the 21st century and move your savings online?


Christmas club accounts have been around for decades. They're mainly offered by credit unions and building societies and some even come with old-fashioned passbooks.


Their main advantage is that you can organise to deposit a set amount each money (or out of each pay) and you can't access the money until November.


That means you'll know with certainty how much money you will have available for Chrissy shopping at the end of the year.


They're a great budgeting tool but out of the 28 Christmas Club accounts listed by Infochoice the average interest rate paid was a paltry 1.5%.


  • Best Christmas Club rate: 4% POLICE CREDIT UNION
  • Worst Christmas Club rate: 0% Queenslanders Credit Union

Online savings accounts are streets ahead in terms of the rates they offer, especially if you take advantage of some of the current introductory rates on offer.


Surely a higher rate is a good enough incentive to leave the money alone until November.


If not, go for an account that has a built-in savings incentive. Here are the best deals currently on offer:

  • UBank USaver 6.11% if you deposit a minimum of $200 per month
  • ING Direct Savings Maximiser: 6.1% for first four months
  • ANZ Online Saver 6% until 30 April 2012
  • Virgin Saver: 5.85% four-month variable into rate
  • Citibank Online Saver 5.8% for six months