The holidays are a time for indulging but all that extravagance can quickly lead to blowing your budget out of the water! You probably think of Christmas as one of the most expensive times of the year. With all of the extra gift-giving, parties, decorations to buy and food your family consumes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of quick and easy things you can do to save money this holiday season without having to compromise on fun.
Top Tips on How to Celebrate Christmas on a Budget
1. Buy gift wrap and bags in post-Christmas sales
As with just about everything Christmas related, the cheapest time to buy wrapping supplies is just after Christmas is over. It might be too late for this year but keep it in the back of your mind and you could save yourself a fortune next year. Just make sure to store gift wrap and bags well so they are still in perfect condition when you dig them out next year.
2. Save gift bags through the year
Chances are you receive tons of gifts throughout the year. Don’t forget to remove the labels and store them somewhere safe for the holiday season.
3. Use kids artwork to wrap gifts
If you have kids, let them go crazy on a huge roll of butchers paper. Think crayons, finger paints, stamps, stickers – the options are endless. They will have tons of fun and it will make such a beautiful and personal addition to even the smallest gift.
4. Use fabric and scarves as reusable wrapping
Why not do something a bit different and use fabric, blankets or scarves as “reusable gift wrap”.
Gift and Card Giving
If it’s too late to buy all your gifts during sales throughout the year, don’t worry! There are still tons of ways you can save money on the most expensive aspect of Christmas.
5. Send e-cards and personal photos
Instead of a card that gets thrown away after Christmas, take some personal family photos and use them to create a holiday e-card.
6. Organize a secret Santa
A gift exchange or secret Santa is a great idea if you have a large group of family or friends. Set a price to stick to and draw names so you only have to buy one gift.
7. Set spending limits
Be honest with your family and tell them you don’t want them to feel they have to spend a lot of money. Keep your budget in mind when out shopping. You may even find that setting a smaller budget forces you to put more thought into your gifts and be more creative with ideas.
8. Hand make gifts with bulk bought items
Handmade gifts are so much more thoughtful than running into a store and grabbing one of the same generic gift sets you get every year. With a little pre-planning, and buying ingredients and supplies in bulk, they can also be incredibly cost-effective.
9. Get the kids to make decorations
Another great way to get the kids involved. The internet is full of amazing Christmas crafts for your kids and they will be so proud to see their handy work hung around the house or on the tree.
10. Use things around the home
If you don’t have kids, there are still heaps of crafty decorations you can make with things you probably already have at home. Think dried apple slices threaded on ribbon or popcorn garlands – the possibilities are endless.
11. Pre-plan your menu
Planning your Christmas day menu in advance can be a big help to keep your food budget under control. Have a detailed list well in advance and you can keep a look out for promotions before the holiday season.
12. Cook from Scratch
It may be tempting to take the pre-made, easy option but you really will save yourself a bundle if you buy everything fresh and cook from scratch. If you are worried about not having enough time, get everyone involved and the cooking will be done in a heartbeat.
13. Keep it simple
Nobody expects 5 different appetizer options or a selection of desserts. Have a set menu that still allows for any dietary requirements and don’t be tempted to start adding on extra options just for one or two people.
As we jump into this season these tips will help me stay focused on my budget as well as the true reason for the season. There is no reason to go into debt over the holidays.