Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, being on holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and surely the noble Christmas dinner! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with family trips, gifts, and scrumptious foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of substantial credit card balances. Some families spend months trying to settle their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
Although some people have the financial ability to shower their loved ones with high-end gifts and lavish festivities, many of us should 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 useful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
1. Set a Budget
While it may sound cliché, it’s imperative that you determine a budget and adhere to it. Compose a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be a lot more than you imagined. Use this as incentive to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some changes so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell possessions that aren’t being used anymore, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for presents, or maybe think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has released an exceptional app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find useful.
2. Shop Online
While lots of people find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the spectacular Christmas displays, nearly all the same goods are readily available on the web at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re looking for. These websites are incredibly competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bundle. Although shopping online will be cheaper, you will need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you’re one of the many families who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll understand that the costs of this exercise can be pretty expensive. It’s no surprise that only a few of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are numerous apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent digitally at no charge whatsoever. Additionally, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped gift can make a significant difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be fairly costly, 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 re-use brown paper bags that are often given at clothing stores. Additionally, consider buying plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Don’t forget, various department stores will wrap your gift completely 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 individuals spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial hardship in the New Year. If you find yourself 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 support on financial hardship, get in touch with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Wangaratta by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertswangaratta.com.au