Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with friends and family, being on holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and surely the legendary Christmas dinner! It’s most certainly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with family trips, gifts, and extravagant foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season eventually passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of sizeable credit card balances. Some individuals spend months trying to pay off their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some individuals have the financial capability to shower their loved ones with classy 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 helpful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
1. Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s vital that you set a budget and follow it. Create 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 pictured. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some modifications so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell belongings 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 control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m sure many of you would find valuable.
2. Shop Online
Although many people find enjoyment in strolling through department stores and basking in the spectacular Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are offered on the web at more affordable prices. Make use of comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re looking for. These websites are incredibly competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bundle. Although shopping online will be more affordable, you should take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among the many people who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be considerably 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 an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are lots of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send fun and amusing Christmas videos that can be sent out digitally at no cost whatsoever. Additionally, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped gift can make a dramatic difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be rather pricey, so look into purchasing plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look much nicer than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are often given at clothing stores. Conversely, consider purchasing plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Always remember, a few department stores will wrap your gift for free, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Sadly, however, lots of folks spend beyond their means and end up 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 advice on financial hardship, get in touch with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Northern Rivers by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: Bankruptcy Northern Rivers