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 indeed a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with getaways, presents, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The fact is, though, that the silly season eventually passes and a lot of us are left with the burden of big credit card balances. Some individuals spend months trying to repay their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some folks have the financial capacity to shower their families with costly gifts and lavish functions, most of us should be vigilant 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 practical ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
While it may sound cliché, it’s very important that you determine a budget and follow it. Develop a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be much more than you believed. Use this as inspiration to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some adjustments so you can stick to your budget. You could have a yard sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or perhaps consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a fabulous app to track your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find invaluable.
- Shop Online
Although lots of folks find pleasure in wandering through department stores and basking in the gorgeous Christmas displays, nearly all the same goods are available on the web at more affordable prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are incredibly competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Despite the fact that shopping online will be more affordable, you will want to 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 friends and family, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be fairly expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your family and friends will in fact keep these cards so it’s basically just money down the drain. Instead, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are lots of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent electronically at no cost at all. On the other hand, 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 gift can make a significant difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be fairly expensive, so look at purchasing 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 often given at clothing stores. Alternatively, consider buying plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Don’t forget, a few department stores will wrap your presents free of charge, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t have to break the bank. Sadly, however, many people 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 advice on financial difficulties, speak with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Gold Coast by phoning 1300 879 867, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertsgoldcoast.com.au