Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, being on holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and certainly the famous Christmas lunch! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to overdo it with holidays, presents, and delicious foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The bottom line is, though, that the silly season ultimately passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of beefy credit card balances. Some folks spend months trying to repay their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
Although some folks have the financial ability to pamper their families with costly gifts and lavish celebrations, many 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 want to share with you some effective ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Even though it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you determine a budget and follow it. Draft a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be far more than you imagined. Use this as motivation 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 things that aren’t being used anymore, talk with family and friends about a setting price limit for presents, or even contemplate making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a marvelous app to control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find helpful.
- Shop Online
Although lots of people find pleasure in wandering through department stores and basking in the radiant Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are available on the web at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to find what you’re searching for. These websites are incredibly competitive and will usually have discounts that can save you a bunch. Despite the fact that shopping online will be cheaper, you will need to 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 have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be rather expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your friends and family will actually keep these cards so it’s ultimately just money down the drain. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are lots of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent out digitally at no charge 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 artistically wrapped present can make a dramatic difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be fairly pricey, so consider 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 re-use brown paper bags that are frequently given at clothing stores. Alternatively, consider purchasing plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Remember, some department stores will wrap your presents completely free, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Unfortunately, however, many individuals spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial turmoil 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any direction on financial problems, talk with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Port Stephens by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertsportstephens.com.au