Hands up who thinks Santa's a nice guy? Or does he have a knack for sucking your bank balance dry? Wouldn't it be nice if Santa really did deliver presents down the chimney for free. Sadly many of us will spend more than $2,000 on Christmas. That sounds unbelievable. But putting together a Christmas dinner with all the trappings and champagne can cost hundreds of dollars. Then there are the incredibly expensive gifts that some people expect these days. Just open your letterbox and you'll see advertisements for wide-screen TVs in almost every Christmas flier.
'KISS' - or 'Keep It Simple Stupid' - is the answer to the madness Santa brings. Who really needs all the trappings to enjoy Christmas? Some simple ideas to keep the season simple include:
When it comes to kids, I quite like my mother's approach. She buys a cheap item – often from the $2 Shop as a present to be wrapped up, and then gives the kids a cheque – which these days goes into their Kiwisaver accounts.
That's a gift that keeps on giving. Thanks to Portfolio Investment Entities (PIEs) it's also now a good idea to give kids managed fund investments – because they're taxed at their own marginal rates.
Charitable gifts are also growing in popularity. So instead of giving a socks or underwear, you give a card from a charity which explains that the money has been spent on buying something for a third-world community in need. This could be anything from a goat to a cataract operation or even a hive of bees – which could help a family in an underdeveloped country en-route to financial independence. For more information visit www.oxfamunwrapped.org.nz. WorldVision and ChildFund both have similar schemes.
How do you 'wrap' up your Christmas?
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