Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with family, going on holidays, giving gifts to loved ones, and of course the famed Christmas meal! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to overdo it with holidays, presents, and scrumptious foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and many of us are left with the burden of substantial credit card balances. Some families spend months trying to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some folks have the financial capacity to shower their families with luxurious gifts and lavish celebrations, the majority of us need to be cautious 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
Whilst it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you set a budget and stick to it. Prepare a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be much more than you imagined. Use this as incentive to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some alterations so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell possessions that aren’t being used any longer, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or maybe think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a marvelous app to control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find valuable.
- Shop Online
Although lots of people find delight in wandering through department stores and basking in the magnificent Christmas displays, almost all the same products are available on the internet at much cheaper prices. Use comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re looking for. These websites are highly competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Although shopping online will be cheaper, you must take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
- Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among the many families who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be rather expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your family and friends will actually keep these cards so it’s essentially 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 allow you to send fun and entertaining Christmas videos that can be delivered digitally at no cost whatsoever. Alternatively, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped present can make a remarkable difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be relatively pricey, so contemplate buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot better than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are normally given at clothing stores. Alternatively, consider purchasing plain green, gold or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Don’t forget, certain department stores will wrap your presents free of charge, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Regrettably, however, lots of folks spend beyond their means and end up 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any advice on financial hardship, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Port Macquarie by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertsportmacquarie.com.au