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If the year-end festive season usually leaves you with huge bills and you feel tired fighting the crowds in shopping malls, here are some quick tips to help you survive and enjoy Christmas.

  • Start with having a pre-Christmas clear out. If you spend several hours clearing out your cupboards and getting rid of anything you have not used for a long time, you can donate your clothes, jewellery, furniture and shoes to charity, sell them online or hold a garage sale, according to ASIC’s Moneysmart website.
  • Make two lists – a gift list for family and close friends and a supermarket list for the important Christmas meal. This will help you plan your spending and keep your bills in check.
  • Instead of buying Christmas cards, why not make your own greeting card with a personalised family photograph. If you have kids, get them to draw and paint some pictures and use them to create special cards. You may want to record a video message on your smartphone or iPad. You can also write a letter instead of sending a card.
  • Avoid buying expensive Christmas wrapping paper. Why not use plain coloured or brown paper and string instead.
  • Be a scrooge online. Search for your gifts online and get the cheapest available. Just make sure there’s free shipping.
  • If you have a large extended family, suggest that gifts are only given to kids. Don’t be surprised if your suggestion will come as a relief to many family members.
  • With extended shopping hours, you can save yourself battling the crowds if you shop at odd hours and limit your choice of shops so that you are not distracted by impulse buys
  • Spread some Christmas cheer by donating to a charity. Besides money, you can also donate groceries, toys and clothes.