Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with friends and family, going on holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and certainly the famous Christmas lunch! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to overdo it with getaways, presents, and extravagant foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season ultimately passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of substantial credit card balances. Some people spend months trying to settle their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
While some individuals have the financial aptitude to pamper their families with extravagant gifts and lavish celebrations, most of us need to be watchful to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can smoothly sail into the New Year. So with this being said, I’d like to share with you some helpful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Although it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you determine a budget and follow it. Prepare a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be far more than you believed. Use this as motivation to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some changes so you can stick to your budget. You could have a yard sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, speak with friends and family about a setting price limit for presents, or perhaps think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a wonderful app to keep track of your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find useful.
- Shop Online
Even though many people find excitement in wandering through department stores and basking in the magnificent Christmas displays, nearly all the same products are readily available online at more affordable prices. Take advantage of comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are exceptionally competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Although shopping online will save you money, you will want to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
- Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you’re one of the many families who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be pretty expensive. It’s no surprise that only a few of your family and friends will in fact keep these cards so it’s virtually just money down the drain. Instead, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are loads of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent electronically at no charge at all. Additionally, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped gift can make a remarkable difference, despite being the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be quite costly, so contemplate buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look much nicer than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are regularly given at clothing stores. On the other hand, consider purchasing plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Remember, a few department stores will wrap your gift for free, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t have to break the bank. Sadly, however, lots of people spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial hardship in the New Year. If you end up in this position, it’s better to seek professional advice sooner rather than later. There are many options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any guidance on financial difficulties, talk with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Gympie by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertsgympie.com.au