Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, going on holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and surely the famous Christmas meal! It’s most certainly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to go overboard with family trips, gifts, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and a lot of us are left with the burden of hefty credit card balances. Some families spend months trying to repay their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.
While some folks have the financial ability to pamper their loved ones with costly gifts and lavish parties, many of us should be careful 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 useful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.
- Set a Budget
Although it may sound cliché, it’s vital that you establish a budget and follow 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 refinements so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell items that aren’t being used anymore, talk with friends and family about a setting price limit for presents, or perhaps think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a fantastic app to track your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find beneficial.
- Shop Online
Even though many individuals find excitement in wandering through department stores and basking in the enchanting Christmas displays, nearly all the same items are available online at more affordable prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re looking for. These websites are exceptionally competitive and will almost always have discounts that can save you a bundle. Whilst shopping online will save you money, you 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 friends and family, you’ll understand that the costs of this exercise can be fairly 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. Instead, 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 entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent out electronically at no charge whatsoever. Conversely, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!
- Wrapping Paper
A beautifully wrapped gift can make a powerful difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be rather costly, so look at buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look much nicer than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are frequently given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider buying plain gold, green, 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 hesitate to ask!
As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Unfortunately, however, many people spend beyond their means and end up 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 direction on financial difficulties, reach out to the specialists at Bankruptcy Melbourne by phoning 1300 879 867, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcymelbourne.com