Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, enjoying holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and surely the legendary Christmas meal! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to go overboard with holidays, presents, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and savour the spirit of Christmas. The fact is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and a lot of us are left with the burden of big credit card balances. Some people spend months trying to pay off their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
Although some folks have the financial ability to shower their families with expensive gifts and lavish parties, the majority of us need to be vigilant to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can continue smoothly into the New Year. So with this being said, I want to share with you some reliable ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s imperative that you determine a budget and follow it. Write a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be far more than you pictured. Use this as inspiration to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some modifications so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell items that aren’t being used any longer, talk with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or maybe consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has published a wonderful app to track your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find beneficial.
- Shop Online
Even though lots of individuals find enjoyment in strolling through department stores and basking in the wonderful Christmas displays, almost all the same items are available online at more affordable prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re trying to find. These websites are remarkably competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bundle. While shopping online will save you money, you need 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 family and friends, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be considerably expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your friends and family will actually keep these cards so it’s ultimately just money down the drain. Instead, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are heaps of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send quirky and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent out electronically at no cost whatsoever. Conversely, 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 nicely wrapped present can make a significant difference, despite being the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be relatively pricey, so look into purchasing plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot better than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are often given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider buying plain red, gold, or green paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Always remember, a number of department stores will wrap your presents completely free, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Unfortunately, however, many people spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial turmoil 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any direction on financial problems, talk with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Gosford by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertsgosford.com.au