Story brought to you by Savvy.
It's that time of year again, where we get together with our friends, families and loved ones, and celebrate the festive season.
However, for many of us it is also a time of financial stress. Not only are we trying to recover financially from the pandemic but we now have to spend a lot of money on food, travel and presents.
Luckily though, if you're savvy with your money and employ a little bit of creativity, it is possible to have a very Merry Christmas, without breaking the bank.
Here are five tips on how you can celebrate Christmas on a budget.
1 - Budget and shop within your means...
This one is the simplest and easiest one to stick to. Don't spend money you don't have on things people don't need.
The best way to achieve this is to sit down and - like Santa, write and list of everything you need and check it twice - before you head down to the shops.
There is nothing like long lines, empty shelves and evaporating stock to induce a bit of panic buying. But, having a clear idea of what it is you ACTUALLY want and how much you are prepared to spend will help save you money.
Also, don't leave your shopping to the last minute. If you can get in and calmly do your shopping, you are far more likely to not only get all of the items you want but also stick to plan.
For this reason, it is better to start your Christmas shopping sooner rather than later.
2 - Secret Santa...
One of the most expensive parts of holiday season is the ritual gift giving. Whilst receiving gifts is extremely exciting as a child, for most adults it isn't all of that important.
Be honest, when was the lest time someone surprised you at Christmas with a gift you really wanted or needed?
For the most part, gift giving is just a formality. So, if you have grown up children and relatives, it maybe worth having a "Secret Santa" this year.
Secret Santa is a game where everyone draws a name out of a hat. Whoever you draw, that's the person you have to buy for.
This is a really great way to bring down the cost of Christmas for everybody. If you want you can even put a limit on how much you're allowed to spend.
Secret Santa makes gift giving fun and doesn't leave all of you with a massive debt to pay off in the New Year.
3 - Get creative with your gift giving...
As mentioned before, when it comes to buying gifts for adults at Christmas time, it does largely feel like a formality.
So, if you're looking for a way to save money this year, why not get creative with your gift ideas?
There is no rule that says a Christmas present has to cost an arm and a leg and be purchased at the local shopping mall. So why not go for something a bit more meaningful?
For example, if you've got small children, why not have an arts and craft session to make nanny and grandad's presents? I assure you, they'll treasure that more than they will a book or an electric razor.
While you're at it why not wrap up a little IOU slip for your siblings or parents? This is a great way to do something kind for your loved ones and save money at the same time.
At the end of the day, they will likely appreciate it more anyway. I mean, what would you rather, some knick-knack you'll never look at again or somebody mowing your lawn for you in the middle of summer?
4 - Get all of your family to bring a plate to Christmas lunch...
One of the other big expenses of the festive season comes from hosting the Christmas Lunch.
A lot of families take it in turns to host it. For others, the job of hostess always falls on that one relative with the wife who is an amazing cook.
Either way, being lumbered with the job of feeding your entire clan can be extremely expensive. For that reason, it might be good this year to ask everybody to bring a dish.
This way, you can all help shoulder the financial burden together and make the best of your collective culinary talents.
5 - If you are really hard up for it, it may be worth borrowing a little bit of money to get you through...
If you really can't afford Christmas it may be worth taking out a small loan to help cover the cost of the kids presents.
That said, there is of course no point in borrowing money you will never be able to pay back to spend on extravagant gifts.
However, if you really need that little bit extra, and you have a bad credit score, there are still options available to you.
A no credit check loan can be a good option for people who have a bad credit score, who need money for Christmas, as a last resort.
"Many people experience hiccups with finance. The fact is that when that happens, no credit check loans can be a good solution - but choosing the right lender is important," Managing Director/CEO of Savvy Bill Tsouvalas explained.
"Loan providers who guarantee approval are a big red flag, and you'll pay through the teeth to access funds that way," he continued.
"The good news is that Savvy can put you in touch with top lenders that look past your credit report. These loan providers consider a range of other factors when you need to apply for a loan with bad credit and you stand a great chance of getting approved."
You can borrow anywhere from $300 to $5000, he explained, however he said there were still checks an balances in place.
"No credit check lenders assess applications based on a few factors... they look at your income and spending, and examine your bank statements to make sure you can afford repayments," Mr Tsouvalas said.
"Loan providers will want to see a few months' worth of those to ensure your income is regular. If your loan gets approved, the lender will record that on your credit file."
No credit check loans can have higher interest rates however - because they are riskier loans for lenders - and can also come with an establishment fee.
For that reason, it is always worth making sure you've exhausted all other options before getting into more debt.
So there you have it...
Christmas time can be expensive but if you budget, stick to your shopping list, don't spend more money than you have, get creative with your gift giving, share the financial burden of Christmas lunch and - if you really need to - look for a small amount of finance to make up your budget shortfall, you'll be able to have a Merry Christmas on a budget this year.
- Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. It is suggested that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained in this story but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances.