Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, going on holidays, giving gifts to loved ones, and of course the grand Christmas lunch! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with family trips, gifts, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and indulge in the spirit of Christmas. The fact is, though, that the silly season ultimately passes and many of us are left with the stress of sizeable credit card balances. Some people spend months trying to pay off their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
Although some people have the financial capability to shower their families with costly gifts and lavish parties, many of us should 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 very important that you set a budget and adhere to it. Create a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be much more than you imagined. Use this as encouragement 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 items that aren’t being used anymore, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or perhaps contemplate making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced an amazing 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.
2. Shop Online
Although lots of people find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the spectacular Christmas displays, almost all the same items are readily available on the internet at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re trying to find. These websites are highly competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bundle. Whilst shopping online will be more cost-effective, you must take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. 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 rather expensive. It’s no surprise that only a few of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s virtually just money down the drain. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are plenty of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and amusing Christmas videos that can be sent out digitally at no charge at all. Then again, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your children draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped gift can make a significant difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be relatively expensive, so look into buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot nicer than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are typically given at clothing stores. Alternatively, consider purchasing plain green, gold or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Don’t forget, many department stores will wrap your presents free of charge, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have 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 advice on financial hardship, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Dandenong by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: Bankruptcy Dandenong