The festive season is getting sooner and sooner at hand, as the days get shorter and our morning breath gets that bit more visible each day. Christmas should be a time for celebration and love, but more than ever it has become a time of anxiety – particularly, financial anxiety.
With times especially hard, more and more people are feeling the need to rely on their savings account to make Christmas work – but who says that Christmas needs to be so expensive? There are a great many ways you can work to cut your festive spending and make a budget Christmas that is no less magical for you and yours.
Create a Budget
The kindest thing you can do for your frugal Christmas planning is to set yourself a budget at your earliest convenience. This reverses what can usually happen at Christmas, where spending commitments come before you think about affordability. The sooner you set yourself a budget cap, the sooner you can plan what gifts to buy – and the sooner you can buy, thus avoiding at festive-period premium that gets applied to many gift items and foodstuffs.
Get Creative With the Kids
Money isn’t a necessity when it comes to making your children’s Christmas a memorable one. Better memories are made with glitter, glue, and sugar paper than they are with state-of-the-art gadgets. Maybe your Christmas could be a crafty one, where the children are preoccupied with creating decorations – and the decorations are used in lieu of buying new ones.
Buy What You Need…
… and not what the supermarket wants you to buy. With Christmas being such a major holiday, there is an understandable pressure to provide – and to provide the best you possibly can. To this end, many households make the mistake of upgrading to ‘posher’, more expensive name-brand items. This is in spite of the fact that many cannot tell the difference between name-brand items and supermarket-brand items in a blind taste test!
There is something of an unfair taboo attached to the buying of used items for Christmas gifts – and it is high time this taboo was left firmly behind. There is no real difference between a brand-new PS5 and a lightly-used one from an electronics reseller, so if a big-ticket gift is unavoidable there is still a way for you to keep costs down.
Gift-giving can become death by a thousand cuts when it comes to extended family, friends, and work colleagues. Not everyone can afford to spend so widely, and the social expectation to respond in kind can be disastrous for the Christmas budget. Nip this social contract in the bud by drawing up an entirely new one, with price-capped Secret Santas for each of your groups.
Whichever way you slice it, Christmas is a costly time of year. However, implementing the above tips can help you keep a much-needed cap on your own festive expenses, and ensure that you enter the new year with little in the way of financial concern.
| Photo by Prostock-studio