Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with family, being on holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and of course the acclaimed Christmas meal! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with getaways, presents, and extravagant foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season gradually passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of hefty credit card balances. Some folks spend months trying to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some individuals have the financial capability to pamper their loved ones with luxurious gifts and lavish celebrations, many 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 practical ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
1. Set a Budget
Whilst it may sound cliché, it’s critical that you set a budget and adhere to it. Develop a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be a lot more than you believed. Use this as motivation 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 possessions that aren’t being used anymore, talk with family and friends about a setting price limit for presents, or maybe consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has launched a great app to keep track of your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find valuable.
2. Shop Online
Whilst lots of folks find delight in wandering through department stores and basking in the wonderful Christmas displays, nearly all the same items are available on the internet at more affordable prices. Take advantage of comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are exceptionally competitive and will generally have discounts that can save you a bunch. While 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’re one of the many people who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be quite expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your family and friends will actually 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 fun and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be delivered electronically at no cost whatsoever. Conversely, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your children draw pictures to make them super special!
4. Wrapping Paper
A nicely wrapped present can make a dramatic difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be pretty expensive, so consider 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 often given at clothing stores. Conversely, consider purchasing plain green, gold or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Don’t forget, certain 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. Unfortunately, however, many people spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial troubles 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 problems, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Hobart by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertshobart.com.au