Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your family, being on holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and surely the legendary Christmas dinner! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to go overboard with family holidays, presents, and mouth watering foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The bottom line is, though, that the silly season sooner or later passes and many of us are left with the burden of substantial credit card balances. Some people spend months trying to pay off their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
While some folks have the financial capability to shower their loved ones with high-end gifts and lavish celebrations, many of us need to be vigilant to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can continue smoothly 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.
- Set a Budget
While it may sound cliché, it’s very important that you set a budget and adhere to it. Produce a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be far more than you imagined. Use this as incentive to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some alterations so you can stick to your budget. You could have a yard sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, speak with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or even think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has launched an exceptional app to control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find useful.
- Shop Online
Although lots of people find enjoyment in wandering through department stores and basking in the beautiful Christmas displays, nearly all the same items are available on the net at more affordable prices. Take advantage of comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to find what you’re looking for. These websites are exceptionally competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bunch. While shopping online will be more affordable, you will need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
- Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among the many families who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be relatively expensive. It’s no surprise that only 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 numerous apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent digitally at no cost at all. Conversely, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped gift can make a dramatic difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be rather costly, so consider buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look much better than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are typically given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider purchasing plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Remember, a few department stores will wrap your gift for free, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t need to break the bank. Sadly, however, lots of folks spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial troubles 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any support on financial hardship, speak to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Toowoomba by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertstoowoomba.com.au