Your Most Budget-Friendly Christmas Ever
No matter how much you eagerly await Christmas, the expenses involved can make you dread it too. However, it is possible to keep your costs under control with a bit of forward-planning. Here is how:
Each year in January you swear that the coming Christmas is going to be cheaper, but it seems that it is suddenly here again: decorations for the house, buying of presents, caring for guests, as well as turkey and all the trimmings you need to cook. It does not have to be stressful. With a bit of creativity and careful planning, it is possible to keep spiralling costs at bay and keep your budget under control.
The following tricks and tips can help in planning your Christmas down to your last penny, to ensure that you never have to tighten your belt once more in when January rolls in.
Budgeting For Gifts
1. Create a budget and don’t deviate from it: think of the total maximum amount you are willing to spend then divide this figure between the number of people you plan to buy gifts for, weighting both down and up according to expectations and importance. If a couple of gift items go beyond the individual budget, you can quickly even it out by ensuring that the next set of purchases are below the budgeted figure.
2. Propose a spend limit for the family: Christmas is mainly about the children, so the entire family should find it a relief to have at least a spending limit for adults on the very least or simply a Secret Santa arrangement.
3. Shop online and ahead: Avoid leaving everything until the last minute. To get amazing bargains, do your research online early on – you will discover discounts in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas and you should always seek out voucher codes too. Multi-purchase deals also offer you a lifeline but only if the gift recipients don’t live under one roof.
4. Do secret Santa with close family members, it can save a lot of money. Also set a budget or you could even be extra frugal and get loads of free samples from WOW FreeStuff, box them and give them as a present. I've recieved perfume samples, make up and chocolates which i have saved for gifts at Christmas.
4. Making your own: Homemade gifts can help you save some cash and look extra-thoughtful.
Cutting Costs on Decorations and Cards
1. Saving on postage: Rather than spending a fortune on stamps, you can consider sending free e-cards online or send charity e-cards for a small donation. It is the thought that counts after all!
2. Getting crafty: You can make lovely, endearing gift tags and cards from old cards sent to you in the previous year, scraps of paper, ribbon, etc. Cut ribbon loops out of old skirts and tops since they make for perfect gift tags. This year i am making my own felt decorations for all of my friends and family. I get all of my ideas and inspiration from Pinterest.
Eating, Drinking, and Being Thrifty
1. Planning your parties and meals: Itemize all they you will need to prevent over-buying. If you encounter deals on non-fresh or frozen items, you can buy them in advance then cross them off your list. If you can buy them in bulk, party foods become cheaper.
2. Avoid panic buying: you obviously don’t want to be worrying about if your turkey is still in date or throwing away veg that has gone off. However, on Christmas Eve, supermarkets reducing their supply of fresh meat can offer a bargain you can use for your Boxing Day festivities or freeze it to make life in January easier.
3. Buying with friends: if you find something you can enjoy savings on by bulk buying, or foods such as cranberry sauce, which you only require a small amount of, plan to buy then share the food and associated costs with a neighbour or friend.
4. Ditching the turkey: It might sound radical, but in the absence of a massive gathering, chicken or other types of meat may be cheaper since the Christmas mark-up is not included and will save you from having to eat turkey curry all week.
Do you normally stick to your Christmas budget, or do you always find your costs spiralling out of control?
Let me know in the comments below.