Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with family, enjoying holidays, giving presents to loved ones, and certainly the legendary Christmas meal! It’s undeniably a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with getaways, gifts, and delicious 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 sizeable credit card balances. Some folks spend months attempting to repay their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.

Although some individuals have the financial capacity to pamper their families with luxurious gifts and lavish functions, many of us need to be careful to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can smoothly sail into the New Year. So with this being said, I’d like to share with you some reliable ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.

1. Set a Budget

Though it may sound cliché, it’s paramount that you set 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 much 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 think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a terrific app to control your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m sure many of you would find useful.

2. Shop Online

Although many people find excitement in strolling through department stores and basking in the elegant Christmas displays, nearly all the same goods are offered on the web at much cheaper prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to locate what you’re looking for. These websites are very competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Despite the fact that shopping online will save you money, you need to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.

3. Rethink your Christmas Cards

If you’re one of the many people who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll know that the costs of this exercise can be somewhat expensive. It’s no surprise that only some of your family and friends 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 heaps of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be delivered electronically at no cost at all. Alternatively, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!

4. Wrapping Paper

An artistically wrapped present can make a significant difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be fairly costly, so contemplate purchasing plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot nicer than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are normally given at clothing stores. Additionally, consider purchasing plain gold, red, or green paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Don’t forget, a few department stores will wrap your gift for free, so don’t be afraid to ask!

As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Unfortunately, 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any assistance on financial hardship, reach out to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Rockhampton by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: Bankruptcy R0ckhampton