Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family, being on holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and surely the acclaimed Christmas lunch! It’s indeed a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to go overboard with family holidays, gifts, and mouth watering foods; to let your hair down and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. The truth is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and many of us are left with the stress of beefy credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to settle their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.

Although some people have the financial capability to pamper their families with luxurious gifts and lavish functions, many of us should be conscientious 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 helpful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.

1. Set a Budget

While it may sound cliché, it’s extremely important that you establish a budget and follow it. Create a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be far more than you pictured. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some modifications so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell items that aren’t being used anymore, speak with friends and family about a setting price limit for presents, or perhaps consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a marvelous app to keep track of your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m confident many of you would find beneficial.

2. Shop Online

Whilst lots of people find excitement in wandering through department stores and basking in the beautiful Christmas displays, almost all the same items are available on the internet at more affordable prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re searching for. These websites are highly competitive and will often have discounts that can save you a bunch. Although shopping online will be more affordable, you will want to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.

3. 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 few of your family and friends will in fact keep these cards so it’s virtually just money down the drain. Instead, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are heaps of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and enjoyable Christmas videos that can be sent electronically at no cost at all. On the other hand, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!

4. Wrapping Paper

A nicely wrapped present can make a remarkable difference, even with the cheapest of gifts. Christmas paper can be relatively expensive, so contemplate purchasing plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot better than Christmas paper. You can even recycle brown paper bags that are typically given at clothing stores. Conversely, consider buying plain gold, green, or red paper which can also be used as birthday gifts throughout the year. Remember, a few department stores will wrap your presents 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 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 solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any assistance on financial problems, speak with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Hervey Bay by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertsherveybay.com.au