Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, going on holidays, giving gifts to loved ones, and certainly the famed Christmas meal! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with holidays, gifts, and mouth watering foods; to let your hair down and indulge in the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season eventually passes and a lot of us are left with the stress of big credit card balances. Some families spend months attempting to repay their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.
While some folks have the financial capability to shower their families with expensive gifts and lavish functions, the majority of us need to be mindful 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.
- Set a Budget
Even though it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you create a budget and stick to it. Write a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be a lot more than you figured. Use this as motivation 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, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or even consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a terrific app to control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find helpful.
- Shop Online
Although many people find enjoyment in wandering through department stores and basking in the beautiful Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are offered on the web at more affordable prices. Take advantage of comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re looking for. These websites are very competitive and will generally have discounts that can save you a bunch. Although shopping online will be more cost-effective, you will want 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 have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be fairly expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your family and friends will actually keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. Rather, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are loads of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send quirky and amusing Christmas videos that can be sent 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!
- Wrapping Paper
An artistically wrapped present can make a powerful difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be relatively costly, so think about buying 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 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. Always remember, a number of department stores will wrap your gift for free, so don’t hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Regrettably, however, lots of people spend beyond their means and find themselves 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any advice on financial problems, get in contact with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Tennant Creek by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertstennantcreek.com.au