Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, enjoying holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and certainly the famed Christmas dinner! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with holidays, gifts, and extravagant foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season gradually passes and a lot of us are left with the burden of beefy credit card balances. Some folks spend months attempting to settle their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some folks have the financial capacity to pamper their loved ones with extravagant gifts and lavish festivities, the majority of us should be cautious 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 practical ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s crucial that you create a budget and follow it. Create a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be much more than you envisioned. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some changes so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell possessions that aren’t being used any longer, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or maybe consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a fantastic app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find invaluable.
- Shop Online
Whilst lots of folks find enjoyment in strolling through department stores and basking in the gorgeous Christmas displays, almost all the same products are readily available on the internet at much cheaper prices. Take advantage of comparative shopping websites like 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 bundle. Whilst shopping online will be cheaper, you need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.
- Rethink your Christmas Cards
If you are among the many people who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be pretty 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 an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are loads 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 charge whatsoever. Additionally, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped present can make a remarkable difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be relatively expensive, so think about 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 commonly given at clothing stores. Additionally, consider purchasing plain green, gold or red paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Don’t forget, certain department stores will wrap your presents completely free, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t need to break the bank. Regrettably, however, many people spend beyond their means and end up in financial hardship 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any direction on financial problems, speak to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Alice Springs by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertsalicesprings.com.au