I remember when I was young, I recall “going without” for 10 or 11 months of the year just so we would have money for Christmas. The money saved in the jar was often emptied at Christmas time. Today though, things are very different. The way of the world seems to be “whack it on the credit card, let’s eat, drink and be merry and worry about it later”. Now obviously Christmas is not exactly the time of year to become a “scrooge” however there are some things that you can do to make it more affordable. Using your credit card is FINE provided you have a great credit card deal (0% is good) and you can pay it back easily when it falls due. However, if you are using your card and have no idea how you will pay it back, then simply DON’T. A bank overdraft facility is not a good idea if you haven’t arranged it in advance. Often “overdrawing” your account without notice attracts a penalty fee as well as a high interest rate. A simple rule of thumb to keep a grip on finances especially during this time of plenty is to be realistic and operate within a reasonable budget. Everybody is conscious of the expense of day to day living and paying off large mortgages and therefore gifts should be commensurate with your financial boundaries. Christmas is short lived and occurs but for one day of the year. Paying off debt can last for months if not years and I am sure your loved ones do not want this for you in lieu of giving an expensive gift. In terms of planning for a great 2015, remember the balance between lifestyle and work and lifestyle and debt is extremely important. It is a common response that the uplifting benefit experienced each day of a new home renovation, a new kitchen or bathroom is far more long lasting then an expensive holiday. Like all things, balance in thought, emotion and reality tends to serve up the greatest advice to us all. For me, each day helping my clients to achieve their goals brings me lots of “Christmas type joy”. It never ceases to be a source of great satisfaction to be in a position to be able to help. Nothing brings me greater joy then to see the smile upon the face of a client that I have been able to help. My wish for you this Christmas, is that life is good to you and that you are able to also share the same smile in the company of your family and those you are close to. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2015!