- 1 Christmas on a Budget
- 1.1 Buy Elements of Your Christmas Dinner Every Week
- 1.2 Homemade is Cheaper
- 1.3 Come Together and Split the Bill
- 1.4 Secret Santa It!
- 1.5 Regift Old Presents, and Present Bags Carefully
- 1.6 Give the Gift of Time
- 1.7 Cash In Old £1 Coins Before It’s Too Late
- 1.8 At Work
- 1.9 Always be on the look out for bargains.
- 1.10 Plan Ahead for 2019
Christmas on a Budget
If you’re anything like me, you will be thinking that you need to Christmas on as much of a shoestring as possible. How is it that Christmas always creeps up so quickly every year? I found I needed a solution to the last minute money panic I felt for years and years. Waking up at night thinking – how do I possibly please everyone? Or.. what could I juggle without causing financial hell or us having to eat soup for a month! That’s a tad dramatic, but you know the horrible feeling post Christmas, when you feel like you can’t buy anything, for the fear of looming huge bill!
I was determined, over the years to find small ways to feel better in the Christmas period, about how to pay for everything. Some ideas below I have used – some are ideas I have heard of, that have been used very successfully. I hope they might help you on the way to a truly restful Christmas on a Budget.
Set a Budget That You Can Afford
Set a budget and try your best to stick to it. This is easier said than done. Maybe buy a set of colourful envelopes and put cash into each of them. This will serve as your budget for Christmas food, Christmas presents, going out and any other expenses relevant to you.
Buy Elements of Your Christmas Dinner Every Week
Buy one thing a week towards Christmas dinner and freeze it or store it. You could even have a separate section in your freezer, so you don’t end up eating it as part of the normal week’s eating plan. Put anything such as: wine, stuffing mix… away in the cupboard. Supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl are superb places to pick up food bargains for Christmas.
Homemade is Cheaper
If you have children, a great use of spare time and possible bonding time could be making presents for their grandparents for example. Christmas decorations can keep children occupied, busily making for hours. Cass, over at the Diary of a Frugal Family has collected together superb tried and tested ideas for simple decorations and ornaments kids can make.
If you can knit, and you have time, woollen knitted scarves seem to be a hit with the children at the moment. I love the classic look of home knitted jumpers also. This could be an option – and updating young children’s wardrobes also without paying retail prices.
Maybe you have a talent such as being artistic. In the past I have gifted good pieces of my artwork as gifts.
Christmas cards are more authentic and much appreciated by grandparents and parents if they are handmade by younger children. My mum loved her Christmas card from my two year old niece! She wouldn’t stop showing it to everyone. Is it something that you could spare time to do?
Come Together and Split the Bill
Could you arrange for as many people in your family to come together? This way the bill could be split. Maybe you could have a Jacob’s join, where you invite everybody to say what they will bring, and everyone has a great feast, but for little outlay! In some areas, it is possible to hire a small hall, for a cheap price, so you could have potentially more of you together!
Secret Santa It!
Instead of buying all of your extended family presents, you could arrange a secret Santa, where everyone has one gift they buy for a specific person. This works well, particularly for the adults of the family, and you would only need to pay for one present, as opposed to many. You could even set a spending limit and theme, limiting unnecessary outlay even more.
Regift Old Presents, and Present Bags Carefully
Can you regift unused presents – be careful to make a note of who it was from though, so you don’t give it them back! I also save present bags and I remove the tags, so they are reusable. This saves me on average £20 a year.
Give the Gift of Time
Could you arrange with your family to give the gift of time? Maybe you are good at DIY? Sewing? Cleaning? Could you offer an hour of your time to help a family member, especially an elderly one? Or just spend quality time doing an activity you both enjoy! This could potentially save hundreds of pounds and everyone gets to spend time together – something that I guess we could all do more together.
Cash In Old £1 Coins Before It’s Too Late
Don’t forget that you could still have old style £1 coins in your piggy bank. Every pound counts towards your total. Now’s the time to get them spent. The last day they are legal tender is 15th October 2018.
At work, could you suggest that you all send each other a free ecard instead of feeling undue pressure to buy everyone something and a card. I have used ecards.co.uk to send ecards. It also eliminates paper waste, so is more eco-friendly. Big win!
Instead of going out, the Jacob’s join idea has been fun in the past for me. It is also a way of saving money by not having to afford another expensive night out before Christmas even begins.
Always be on the look out for bargains.
Becky over at Family Budgeting has a great post about bargains you can find every year. Other inspiration can be found over at Finsavvypanda , where she has found killer bargains on stocking fillers, for less than $10, that are also applicable worldwide.
Plan Ahead for 2019
There are many savings plans in different formats that you can use to prepare from just after Christmas.
Park offer Lovetoshop vouchers or a card.You choose a total budget and pay every week or month towards the total. The great thing is that there are lots of ways to pay. Some include: direct debit, manual payments by telephone, internet or you can download the app. From September onwards your vouchers or card is delivered to you.
I love this method personally because I do this every year. It forces me to save throughout the year, so I no longer have to panic about where the money is going to come from. My payments go direct to my friend Sarah, who, to make more money, works as an agent for Park. Because I have to pay to her, it keeps me on the straight and narrow and accountable for the fact that I need to be within my budget for Christmas. To become a Park Agent yourself, check out the link here to find out what benefits you could get for your Christmas.
Supermarkets such as ASDA, Morrisons, and Tesco offer saving stamps schemes, where you can electronically save credits onto their cards over the year. So as part of your shop, you could budget £5 for charging to the card, and before you know it, you will have saved a small fortune! Bear in mind, you would have to spend the money in the store you have saved within.
I hope these tips might inspire you or spark further ideas, for your peaceful Christmas on a shoestring. Let me know how you are doing. Feel free to share your ideas and tips.