Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, enjoying holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and surely the famed Christmas lunch! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with family trips, gifts, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and delight in the spirit of Christmas. The fact is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and many of us are left with the stress of big credit card balances. Some people spend months trying to pay off their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
Although some people have the financial aptitude to pamper their loved ones with luxurious gifts and lavish festivities, many of us need to 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 efficient ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Though it may sound cliché, it’s paramount that you establish a budget and stick to it. Compose a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be far more than you figured. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some adjustments so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell items that aren’t being used anymore, talk with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or perhaps consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has released an excellent app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find useful.
- Shop Online
Whilst lots of people find excitement in strolling through department stores and basking in the exquisite Christmas displays, nearly all the same items are available on the internet at much cheaper prices. Make use of comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are incredibly 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 people who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll comprehend that the costs of this exercise can be relatively expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your family and friends will in fact keep these cards so it’s virtually just money down the drain. Rather, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are numerous apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent digitally at no charge at all. Then again, 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 exquisitely wrapped present can make a significant difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be quite costly, so look at buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot better than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are commonly given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider buying plain green, gold or red paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Always remember, many department stores will wrap your gift free of charge, so don’t be afraid to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t have to break the bank. Regrettably, however, many people spend beyond their means and find themselves in financial turmoil 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 guidance on financial problems, get in contact with the specialists at Gold Coast Bankruptcy Centre by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.goldcoastbankruptcycentre.com.au