Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, going on holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and surely the noble Christmas dinner! It’s most certainly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to go overboard with family holidays, gifts, and extravagant foods; to let your hair down and savour the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season gradually passes and many of us are left with the burden of sizeable credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some individuals have the financial capacity to shower their loved ones with high-end gifts and lavish festivities, many 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 helpful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s essential that you set a budget and adhere to it. Develop 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 believed. 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 yard sale and sell items that aren’t being used any longer, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or perhaps contemplate 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 certain many of you would find useful.
- Shop Online
While lots of people find pleasure in wandering through department stores and basking in the stunning Christmas displays, nearly all the same products are available online at much cheaper prices. Make use of comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are extremely competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Despite the fact that shopping online will be more affordable, you must take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
- Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you’re one of the many people who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll comprehend that the costs of this exercise can be pretty expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. As an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are plenty of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent out 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
An artistically wrapped present can make a powerful 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 better than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are frequently given at clothing stores. On the other hand, consider purchasing plain red, gold, or green paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Always remember, some 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 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any direction on financial problems, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Advice Brisbane by phoning 1300 879 867, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcy-advice.com.au/brisbane