Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, going on holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and of course the noble Christmas meal! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with holidays, presents, and mouth watering foods; to let your hair down and savour the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season eventually passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of considerable credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some people have the financial aptitude to pamper their families with costly gifts and lavish festivities, most of us need to be conscientious 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 effective ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
1. Set a Budget
While it may sound cliché, it’s imperative that you create a budget and stick to it. Create a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be far more than you believed. Use this as motivation 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 things that aren’t being used any longer, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or even contemplate making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a fantastic app to track your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find helpful.
2. Shop Online
Even though lots of individuals find enjoyment in strolling through department stores and basking in the gorgeous Christmas displays, almost all the same items are available online at much cheaper prices. Make use of comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to find what you’re searching for. These websites are remarkably competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bundle. While shopping online will be cheaper, you will want 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 family and friends, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be relatively 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. As an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are heaps of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send fun and entertaining Christmas videos that can be delivered electronically at no charge at all. Alternatively, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your children draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
A nicely wrapped gift can make a significant difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be fairly costly, 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 commonly given at clothing stores. On the other hand, consider purchasing plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Always remember, many department stores will wrap your gift completely free, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t need to break the bank. Unfortunately, however, lots of people spend beyond their means and end up 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any direction on financial hardship, get in touch with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Mackay by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertsmackay.com.au