Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with family, enjoying holidays, giving gifts to loved ones, and surely the acclaimed Christmas meal! It’s undoubtedly a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with getaways, gifts, and enticing foods; to let your hair down and indulge in the spirit of Christmas. The reality is, though, that the silly season ultimately passes and a lot of us are left with the strain of big credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to repay their Christmas debts, while others find themselves in much deeper water.

While some folks have the financial ability to shower their loved ones with luxurious gifts and lavish celebrations, many of us need to be conscientious 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 useful ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.

  1. Set a Budget

While it may sound cliché, it’s paramount that you determine a budget and adhere to it. Draft 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 inspiration 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 goods that aren’t being used any longer, speak with friends and family about a setting price limit for gifts, or maybe think about making gifts yourself! ASIC has launched an exceptional app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m positive many of you would find beneficial.

  1. Shop Online

Although lots of folks find pleasure in strolling through department stores and basking in the magnificent Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are offered online at much cheaper prices. Use comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Nextag to find what you’re searching for. These websites are highly competitive and will generally have discounts that can save you a bunch. Although 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 are among the many people who send Christmas cards to all your friends and family, you’ll have an idea that the costs of this exercise can be considerably expensive. It’s no surprise that only few of your family and friends will in fact keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. As a substitute, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are lots of apps on smart phones and tablets that enable you to send quirky and entertaining Christmas videos that can be sent electronically at no cost whatsoever. Conversely, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your little ones draw pictures to make them super special!

  1. Wrapping Paper

An exquisitely wrapped gift can make a dramatic difference, even with the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be fairly costly, so think about buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot nicer than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are commonly given at clothing stores. In contrast, consider buying plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Don’t forget, certain department stores will wrap your presents free of charge, so don’t be afraid to ask!

As you can see, Christmas celebrations doesn’t have to break the bank. Sadly, 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, speak to the specialists at Bankruptcy Wagga Wagga by calling 1300 818 575, or alternatively visit our website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcy-waggawagga.com.au/