How to have Christmas on a budget
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. The song says so! However, with all the festivities and joy, it can also turn into quite an expensive occasion. If we don’t plan all year round for Christmas, we might find ourselves opening that first door of your advent calendar and wondering how you’ll actually afford the holidays this year. Where the money will come from to pay for presents, activities and food. How can you enjoy all the delights of the season whilst watching the purse strings? Let’s have a look at how to have Christmas on a budget.
Make a budget & stick to it
The first thing to do when you want to organise Christmas on a budget is to actually make a budget. So many people want to budget but don’t actually make one, to put into action. Even those that make a budget sometimes wonder why it doesn’t work. This is because they don’t stick to it. Simply making the budget isn’t enough. It has to be made and stuck to, in order for it to work. A great idea when looking at Christmas on a budget is to see how much you spent last year. You should be able to figure this out by looking at your online bank statements. Then you can use that data, along with how much you actually have to spend, to budget for this year.
Figure it out in terms of different areas. That way if you save in a certain place, you can put that money aside for January or divert it to a different area of Christmas. For example, if you find the presents you want to by in a 50% off sale, you could put that money into the food budget instead. This might mean you can afford a Christmas pudding as well as a Christmas cake this year.
Use last year’s decorations
The festive songs might be playing on the radio and in the shops, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy what is for sale on the shelves. So many supermarkets and stores have aisles full of Christmas decorations. Trees, baubles, tinsel, outdoor novelties and enough fairy lights to be seen from space. However, what is wrong with the decorations you had last year? Most people pop these away in plastic storage boxes and pull them out year after year. If anything has broken, why not replace it in the post-Christmas sales?
Handmade presents & gifts of time
Giving gifts is a huge part of Christmas for many people. The adverts on the TV become all about what you can buy for your nearest and dearest and all over the shelves we see potential presents for our loved ones.
Gift giving doesn’t have to be all about handing over your cash though. Have you thought about handmade presents? If you are a superstar behind the camera, why not take some pics of the children and frame them as easy gifts for Grandparents? Or offer your friends a mini photoshoot in the park. You can then send them the digital files and your gift is sorted.
The gift of time is also important. So often we are shown that a pointless gift is the way to go. But what is better, a toiletries set stuffed in a bathroom cabinet or spending an hour in conversation over coffee? Why not buy tell your bestie that you’re not doing physical presents this year but you’d like to treat them to a coffee one morning after the school run?
ur next idea when looking at Christmas on a budget is to prioritise your purchases. You will probably have your immediate family to buy from, including kids. We’re not asking you to stop the magic. However, it might be worth writing down how far the budget stretches. If you can cover the people in your home and your nieces and nephews, maybe it’s time to stop. Having that awkward conversation with your family and friends about not swapping gifts this year can feel scary, however, you might b the one with the most confidence to start the conversation. Which in turn could be a blessing for other people too. Maybe they are worried about cash and want a Christmas on a budget too? Organise the gifts you need and see how far your money can go.
Make a Christmas dinner shopping list
What did you have for Christmas dinner last year? It’s one of those annual occasions where everyone gets together and feasts around the table. However, so often we overbuy. We buy more than we actually need. You don’t need 5kg of potatoes or three bags of carrots. Sure, you want some leftovers for sandwiches and Boxing Day bubble & squeak. However, if we overbuy, we are basically wasting cash and throwing it in the bin. Make a list of the exact amounts of stuff you plan on serving and stick to it. Remember, the shops are only shut for one day so you don’t need five loaves of bread!
Make your own cards
Last on our list of Christmas on a budget, is cards. Sending Christmas cards is a huge part of the festivities for many people. Choosing them, writing them, and sending them through the post, it’s can be a big part of Christmas. However, you can save money on cards by making your own. You should also hand deliver any local ones to save on postage. Keep an eye out for cheap deals on websites like Moonpig where you can get discount codes for free or cheap cards which include delivery. This should save you money too.
Being able to enjoy the season without the hefty price tag is a must for many of us this year. Being a little bit more careful with our spending and choosing who we actually need to buy a gift for is important. Christmas on a budget is possible, we just need to be a little more planned than usual.