‘Overspending’ and ‘Christmas’ are words that seem to go hand in hand. It’s the season of giving, though it can sometimes feel as if the only thing you’re giving is a battering to your bank balance. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things that you can do, which will help keep your Christmas spending in check. That doesn’t mean cutting back on festive cheer, it’s just about spending your money more wisely. So, without further ado, here are the best ways to survive Christmas without breaking the bank.
Make a plan and stick to it.
The first thing you want to do is make a plan. Work out how much money you can reasonably afford to spend at Christmas and then begin dividing it up between all of your expected purchases. Try and think of every little thing that is going to cost you money. How many people are you buying gifts for? Do you have wrapping paper and gift tags for all those presents? If you’re feeling super organised, you can even make a list of what present you’re buying each person to then scour the web for the cheapest place to buy it. Remember to reserve a portion for Christmas dinner, another portion for cards and stamps, and so on. Once you’ve worked out what needs purchasing, and more importantly how much you have to spend, only then can you head to the shops to begin ticking things off your list. This method will also help you refrain from any impromptu purchases that may throw your budget into disarray.
Bulk buy ingredients for Christmas dinner.
When it comes to budgeting, the multipack is your best friend. Luckily, bulk buying can be applied to Christmas dinner ingredient purchases relatively easily. That’s because, realistically, many of the ingredients that you intend on using for Christmas dinner can be used for other meals. Stuffing? Yep. Sausages? Check. Cheese? You bet. Therefore, there’s no point buying the exact amount of each ingredient, when you can always pop surplus in the freezer. Similarly, it’s also worth having a check in the freezer before you even begin shopping, as you might find something useful in there from a previous shop.
Bulk buying can also apply to different components of Christmas. If you have the storage space, the likes of wrapping paper and Christmas cards are much cheaper when purchased in larger quantities and can be used year after year.
Do a pot luck.
Another great technique for saving money on Christmas dinner is to ask guests to participate in a pot luck. This is where each guest is responsible for bringing a component of the Christmas dinner. If the lack of organisation scares you, then you can always assign people to courses or even specific dishes. The way you don’t have to worry about potentially having 50 Brussel sprouts and no roast potatoes. If you’re cooking for a large party, a pot luck also solves the issue of running out of oven space. The best thing about sharing out the cooking of Christmas dinner is that it doesn’t just save you money, it also saves you time and effort. However, if any of your guests have any allergies or intolerances make sure to communicate them to everyone who will be bringing a dish.
Buy now, pay later.
The month of December sure is an expensive one. And unfortunately, some costs are unavoidable. If you’re having trouble finding the funds to buy all of your Christmas gifts, then why not consider buying things on credit? You’re hardly expected to buy a new sofa outright or renovate your kitchen using a single pay-check, so large purchases like amazing gifts can follow suit. For the exceptionally organised, they’ll have saved and scrimped throughout the year to afford the perfect purchase. For the rest of us, we can reverse the process and buy the gift first, then pay later. You’ll find catalogues and websites covering almost every category imaginable. There are even catalogues for bad credit, so those with financial turmoil in their past and a less-than-perfect credit score need not worry about missing out.
Get crafty and make your own gifts.
If you have ever watched Art Attack! then you’ll know that almost every household item can be transformed into a new and exciting gift. Parents with small kids can take advantage of the opportunity to make homemade presents, as it can double as a lovely weekend activity. Perhaps you can get the little ones making homemade gift tags by turning finger prints into characters. For budding chefs, you could make a large batch of truffles or jars of jam, and distribute your wares amongst your friends and family. Meanwhile those with nimble fingers could knit socks or crochet hats for their loved ones. There are so many crafty Christmas ideas online, so get browsing to find something that suits your skill level.
Wait for the sales.
Unless you have understanding friends and family, it may be difficult to put off buying Christmas presents until the sales hit. However, there are some things that you can forgo this year but enjoy in 2018, in order to make a massive saving on the purchase in the January sales. This includes things like an artificial Christmas tree and all of its decorations. In the run up to Christmas, you can expect to pay a small fortune for this festive staple. But once the big day has passed, shops will begin flogging their stock to make room for their non-Christmassy items, and that’s when it’s your time to pounce. Then, when Christmas 2018 rolls around, you’ll be able to gleefully boast to all your guests about how you managed to decorate your home for a fraction of the cost it would have otherwise been to purchase everything full price.