Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, going on holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and surely the grand Christmas meal! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with getaways, gifts, and delicious foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season eventually passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of sizeable credit card balances. Some families spend months attempting to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some people have the financial ability to shower their families with classy gifts and lavish festivities, many of us need to be conscientious to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can continue smoothly into the New Year. So with this being said, I’d like to share with you some useful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
1. Set a Budget
Although it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you determine a budget and follow it. Compose a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be much more than you envisioned. Use this as inspiration to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some adjustments so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell belongings that aren’t being used anymore, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for presents, or maybe consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has published a fabulous app to track your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find beneficial.
2. Shop Online
Although many people find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the enchanting Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are available on the web at much cheaper prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to find what you’re looking for. These websites are exceptionally competitive and will generally have discounts that can save you a bunch. Whilst shopping online will be more affordable, you will need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among 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 quite 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. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are plenty of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be delivered digitally at no charge whatsoever. Alternatively, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped gift can make a dramatic difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be pretty pricey, so look into buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look much nicer than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are often given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider purchasing plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Remember, a few department stores will wrap your presents free of charge, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t have to break the bank. Unfortunately, however, many individuals spend beyond their means and end up in financial troubles 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 difficulties, reach out to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Sunshine Coast by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertssunshinecoast.com.au