Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with friends and family, enjoying holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and certainly the acclaimed Christmas lunch! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with getaways, gifts, and scrumptious foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season gradually passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of substantial credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to pay off their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some folks have the financial aptitude to shower their loved ones with high-end gifts and lavish parties, the majority of us need to 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.
1. Set a Budget
Even though it may sound cliché, it’s paramount that you create a budget and follow it. Draft 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 figured. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some refinements 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 presents, or perhaps contemplate making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a fantastic app to keep track of your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find beneficial.
2. Shop Online
Even though lots of people find enjoyment in strolling through department stores and basking in the breathtaking Christmas displays, nearly all the same products are available on the web at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re trying to find. These websites are incredibly competitive and will usually have discounts that can save you a bunch. While shopping online will be more cost-effective, you need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. 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 somewhat expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your friends and family will actually keep these cards so it’s basically just money down the drain. As an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are numerous apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send fun and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent digitally at no charge at all. Additionally, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped gift can make a powerful difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be relatively costly, so look at 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 often 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, some department stores will wrap your gift free of charge, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Regrettably, however, lots of people 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any assistance on financial problems, talk with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Maitland by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertsmaitland.com.au