Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with family, going on holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and certainly the famous Christmas lunch! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with family trips, gifts, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of considerable credit card balances. Some people spend months attempting to pay off their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
While some people have the financial capability to pamper their families with luxurious gifts and lavish festivities, most of us need to be conscientious to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can continue smoothly 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
Though it may sound cliché, it’s crucial that you set a budget and follow it. Create a list of all the gifts 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 alterations so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, talk with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or maybe consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a terrific app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find invaluable.
2. Shop Online
While lots of folks find excitement in wandering through department stores and basking in the wonderful Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are available on the internet at much cheaper prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re trying to find. These websites are incredibly competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bundle. Even though shopping online will be cheaper, you must take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
3. Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among the many families who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be fairly expensive. It’s no surprise that only a few of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are loads of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and amusing Christmas videos that can be delivered digitally at no cost whatsoever. Alternatively, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped gift can make a dramatic difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be quite expensive, so contemplate purchasing plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot better than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are regularly given at clothing stores. Additionally, consider purchasing plain gold, red, or green paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Remember, a number of department stores will wrap your gift completely free, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Sadly, however, many individuals spend beyond their means and end up in financial hardship 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 assistance on financial difficulties, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Darwin by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertsdarwin.com.au