Christmas doesn’t have to leave a hole in your pocket!

I have always loved Christmas. I remember the excitement as a child of decorating our big old farmhouse with crepe paper streamers and driving around with my Dad looking for the perfect (real) Christmas tree. The world has certainly changed with an amazing array of decorations and ornaments that can now be found at various bargain shops.

However, for many people, Christmas can be a stressful time with lots of presents to buy for friends and family. Not to mention the abundance of food to buy, prepare and serve to celebrate. The table usually groans with the weight of the food, and we all need an afternoon sleep after having such a huge Christmas lunch (how blessed are we?).

Sometimes, the credit card get used repeatedly with the philosophy that we will worry about the bill when it comes in January. I have a very large extended family and we used to buy presents for everyone. However, as the children have grown, partnered and had children of their own, it just become too much. So now we have a gathering (pizza and pool party) at my place a week or so before Christmas. It is our version of a casual Christmas and we all just buy a $5 Secret Santa gift. This gathering is so much fun and laughter abounds. Some people are quite creative with their $5 purchase, which just proves you don’t have to spend a lot to bring joy. Seeing 35 people in the pool at once, all laughing and having fun is magical.

We then celebrate on Christmas day with our close family and friends and have all the trimmings. While it may be too late for this Christmas, I suggest that you can plan for the problem of high Christmas costs during the year. Let’s say you have gifts to buy for 10 people and want to spend $50 each, and then have another 10 on whom you spend $20 each. Depending upon your catering needs, add up what you will spend on the prawns, ham, drinks and all the trimmings. Let’s say that comes to $400. So, the total spend is $1,100. Lets add another $100 for unexpected extras and make it $1,200. I suggest putting aside money each payday into a special account to cover this cost. For example, $1,200 over 52 weeks is $23.07 per week. Imagine how it will feel to have the funds sitting there in the bank already and no big credit card bill arriving in January.

If you want to go away during the holiday break, divided the cost of your accommodation and spread your savings over the year to make it happen. You can do it! May your Christmas be filled with love, laughter and happiness.

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