Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your extended family and friends, enjoying holidays, offering gifts to loved ones, and surely the acclaimed Christmas meal! It’s most certainly a time for giving, and with this comes costs. It’s very easy to overdo it with family trips, presents, and heavenly foods; to let your hair down and indulge in the spirit of Christmas. The bottom line is, though, that the silly season sooner or later passes and many of us are left with the burden of large credit card balances. Some people spend months attempting to repay their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.

While some people have the financial capacity to shower their loved ones with luxurious gifts and lavish festivities, the majority of us need to be cautious to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can continue smoothly 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.

  1. Set a Budget

While it may sound clich√©, it’s essential that you establish a budget and follow it. Prepare a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. Most of the time, it will be a lot 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 possessions that aren’t being used anymore, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or even consider making gifts yourself! ASIC has introduced a fantastic app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find invaluable.

  1. Shop Online

Whilst lots of people find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the gorgeous Christmas displays, almost all the same products are available on the internet at more affordable prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re searching for. These websites are extremely competitive and will nearly always have discounts that can save you a bunch. Even though shopping online will be more affordable, you have to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.

  1. Rethink your Christmas Cards

If you’re one of the many families who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll understand that the costs of this exercise can be pretty expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your friends and family will in fact keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. Rather, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are loads of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and amusing Christmas videos that can be sent out electronically at no charge whatsoever. Additionally, you can always make your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your children draw pictures to make them super special!

  1. Wrapping Paper

An exquisitely wrapped gift can make a significant difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be relatively pricey, so contemplate purchasing 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 regularly given at clothing stores. Conversely, consider buying plain red, gold, or green paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Always remember, a few department stores will wrap your presents for free, so don’t hesitate to ask!

As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t have to break the bank. Regrettably, however, many individuals spend beyond their means and end up 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 options available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any assistance on financial hardship, talk to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Tweed Coast by phoning 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertstweedcoast.com.au