Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, being on holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and certainly the noble Christmas lunch! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with family trips, presents, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and indulge in the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season ultimately passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of large credit card balances. Some families spend months trying to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some people have the financial ability to pamper their families with extravagant gifts and lavish celebrations, most of us should 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 efficient ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s very important that you set a budget and adhere to it. Prepare a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be a lot more than you pictured. Use this as motivation to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some revisions so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, speak with friends and family about a setting price limit for presents, or even think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has published a fabulous app to keep track of your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find helpful.
- Shop Online
Even though lots of folks find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the radiant Christmas displays, almost all the same items are offered on the internet at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are extremely competitive and will generally have discounts that can save you a bundle. While shopping online will save you money, you should 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 fairly expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s ultimately 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 enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent digitally at no cost whatsoever. Additionally, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
An exquisitely wrapped present can make a remarkable difference, despite being the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be rather expensive, so look into 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. In contrast, consider buying plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Always remember, a few department stores will wrap your presents for free, so don’t hesitate 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, get in touch with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Gladstone by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertsgladstone.com.au