The idea of Christmas on a budget may fill you with dread. The possibility of facing Christmas morning without a stash of brightly wrapped presents for your kids under the tree could be a reality you face. But it doesn’t have to be that way as there are a number of things you can do to create the extra money in your budget to stretch it far enough to cover all the necessities of a great Christmas, plus a few extras!
The first thing you need to do is plan ahead. For some reason, despite being at the same time every year, it still seems to creep up and catch many people unawares. This is when Christmas becomes expensive because everything is left until the last minute and there aren’t as many bargains to be found. Start the preparations early and Christmas on a budget is much easier to accomplish.
The New Year sales are a great place to start your Christmas shopping as there is usually a great choice of cheap wrapping paper and cards, often at less than half the price you would have paid before Christmas. Stock up on these in the post Christmas sales to make substantial savings on your budget for the next Christmas. If you need Christmas decorations and have the extra cash available, these are also a great investment. Buy them and put them away unopened for easy storage.
Throughout the year look out for Christmas gift bargains. Keep a list of the people you need to buy for and the kind of things they like. When you see suitable items on sale, buy them and put them away in a safe place ready to wrap nearer the time. You could also add a few additional items to your grocery shopping every week that you put away in a box, tins of food stuff such as soups, fruit and even meat with a long shelf life are perfect. Alternatively, if your supermarket has a stamp programme that allows you to buy £1 stamps that you save on a card, purchase 1 or 2 of these a week – it will only add £1-2 onto your bill at the check-out, but if you did this from the first week of the year you’d have an additional £50-100 to spend on Christmas goodies when the time comes.
Keep a jar in your bedroom and put all your spare coins there. You’ll be surprised at how quickly all that copper adds up! It won’t be hundreds of pounds, but it should be enough to buy some extra stocking fillers!
If you love crafts, try making some homemade gifts. Collect the supplies in the sales to bring down the cost further. Another idea would be to buy some cheap containers and fill them with seeds or bulbs, decorate with a festive ribbon and give these instead of expensive flowers. They won’t be in bloom at Christmas, but you’ll be remembered a few weeks later when the shoots start to peek through the soil.
Christmas on a budget isn’t about doing without. It’s about knowing what’s needed and planning ahead to bring it all together.