Christmas is just about here and for many people the mere mention of it makes them sweat. It can put a big strain on already stretched finances with so much spending concentrated into one part of the year.
Some people are really organised and have already got a stash of presents ready to go, but most of you reading this are probably wondering how the silly season crept up so quickly.
We’ve put together some budget tips for Christmas to help ease the financial stress of the festive season, so you can worry about more important stuff like who’s turn it is to host Christmas this year and where to hide the presents…
Surviving Christmas on a budget
Start Kris Kringle
Let’s face it, buying presents for everyone in your family is tiring, expensive and quite often you end up with a pile of crap gifts in return. And who needs more stuff?
Try starting a new tradition. Lots of families have a Kris Kringle arrangement where everyone is given just one person to buy a gift for, up to a designated price point. Or another option is to only buy for the kids in the family. It helps take the stress out Christmas shopping and also saves you money.
Make your own gifts
If you’re a crafty type you probably already do make presents for your loved ones, but if you’re not there are plenty of great gift ideas that are easy to put together. Homemade jams, preserves, chocolates, biscuits or puddings are a sweet way to show you care without spending too much on a token present. Check out our post on gifting luxe for less for some inspiration and ideas.
Homemade Christmas cards
I have started doing this for birthday cards throughout the year as well: Take a nice photo of your family and upload it to a simple design program like Canva to make a nice Christmas-themed design and print it out. Its free, it’s easy, and it’s also a whole lot more special than your stock-standard Christmas card. You can also find a whole range of cute craft ideas the kids can do to create their own cards.
Get your bonbon on
It’s so simple to make your own bonbons and Christmas decorations. It’s also fun for the kids and helps build the Christmas excitement in the house. There is a heap of cool Christmas decoration ideas online that are simple and fun to make. You could even make personalised decorations as gifts for your family and friends.
Buy on sale
The way retail trade is going you’re still bound to snap up some bargains before Christmas. During the year, there are great stocktake sales, particularly for kids toys. Stocking up on gifts throughout the year takes away the pressure of having to come up with the money all at once. So long as you’re sure that your child isn’t going to grow out of Thomas, Dora or Paw Patrol before the big day.
Avoid a huge grocery shop
Every week in the lead up to Christmas buy a few grocery items you’ll need, particularly when they are on sale – drinks, nibblies, chocolates, wine. Spread the shop out over multiple weeks so you aren’t forced to get everything at once when you’re feeling most stressed and financially stretched.
Share the load
If you’re having Christmas at your house don’t try and do everything yourself, ask your guests to pitch in. Assign a special dish or course to each person so you are not caught having to pay for everything. I always put my hand up for pavlova and turkey; my brother-in-law does the world’s best pork crackling and nothing is better than my mum’s pumpkin, baked potatoes and roast lamb. Not only does sharing the load help with finances, but it also helps you spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen.
Go out for lunch
Sometimes it works out to be cheaper going out for lunch than having it at home. And imagine not having to do the washing up. Win!
Don’t go overboard
Everyone wants to give their kids an amazing present for Christmas, but there’s no reason to overextend your credit card. Set a price limit on gifts, this includes stocking fillers, and stick to it. Quality not quantity is what’s important.
Remember it’s about the joy
Get back to the basics and keep Christmas simple. Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends, not outdoing each other or putting yourself in unnecessary debt. Try not to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
Do you have any tips for keeping costs down at Christmas?