10 Ways to Plan a Great Christmas on a Budget
Christmas is coming and that always means extra expenditure: You’ve got presents, decorations, meals out, experiences for the kids and everything else to think about! By being savvy and planning ahead, it’s still possible to have a magical Christmas without blowing the budget. So here are our top tips to having a great Christmas on a budget:
1. Calculate your budget ahead of time.
You need to think carefully about how much you will spend over the holiday period, and include all the extra expenses, no matter how small they will be. Think about how you could spread the costs over several months – it’s a great idea to start buying Christmas presents throughout the year, especially when you can take advantage of sales or discounts. Work out how much you can put away into your Christmas pot each month, so that when it comes to the festive period it’ll be sitting there waiting for you! Most importantly, avoid going over the budget you’ve set yourself. If your costs are going to higher than you can afford, look closely to see where you could trim off anything to save some money. If you can’t see afford to save up money in advance for your Christmas expenses, it may be worth considering a small loan. Just make sure you’ve considered the repayments you’ll need to make in the new year.
2. Get creative with presents.
If you’re crafty, think of how you could put your talents to use to create some heartfelt hand-made presents. Crocheted scarfs, delicious baked goods or soap you’ve made yourself all make lovely gifts. They will stand out from all the other shop-bought items and the hours of care you’ve put into them will show how much you care. If you have children, grandparents and other relatives love saltdough Christmas decorations and cards decorated at home! This is a great way to save money and give a thoughtful present which will be treasured.
3. Use an artificial tree instead of a real one.
If you already have one packed away in storage, brilliant. Otherwise this one involves a little bit of expenditure but you can get a good-quality artificial tree at a reasonable cost. And you’ll be able to use it year after year! If you’re sticking to a tight budget, don’t buy any new Christmas decorations. Instead, get creative with the ones you already have. Too many baubles? They look great in a clear vase as a centrepiece for the table! You’ll amaze yourself with how much you can do with what you already have once you’ve made the decision not to spend money on more decorations.
4. Get the kids crafting too.
Whilst we’re on the topic of decorations, there are lots of crafty projects the kids can do too. You’ll have a fun family Christmas activity at just the cost of the materials and you can use the results to decorate the house over the holidays. Making and decorating simple salt dough Christmas tree ornaments is something even the littlest ones can get involved with. Follow this easy tutorial with pictures here. The older kids can try their hand at these marble-swirled ornaments, or make some cheerful paper chains or foil snowflakes which look really effective in the window.
5. Ditch the wrapping paper and use brown paper instead.
Brown parcel wrap is much more affordable than the wrapping paper sold in most shops, and there are lots of ways to customise it to give it that special touch. From gold and silver stamps to ribbon, string, handmade labels, washi-tape, mini wreaths and more, you’ll be spoilt for ideas to make your gifts stand out and look amazing with this creative article and video.
6. Indulge in a tasty – but simpler – Christmas dinner
You don’t have to follow the crowd and do a massive shop right before Christmas. It’s easy to stock up on some bits, like frozen veg or canned goods, in the weeks leading up to Christmas so that you can just get the essentials you need right before the big day. Consider having chicken instead of turkey – it’s just as delicious and less will get wasted.
7. Wrap up warm to bring your heating costs down.
Heating costs add up considerably over Christmas – everyone’s at home more and of course you want to be cosy! But when else can you wear your Christmas jumpers and your woolly socks? Make the most of them and make sure everyone’s wrapping up warm so that you can keep the heating a couple of degrees cooler. You’ll be surprised by the difference in your fuel bills!
8. When you do hit the shops, avoid impulse buying.
Whether it’s to stock up on presents or to buy some yummy treats to eat over Christmas, make sure you write up your list first. We all know how easy it is to buy things on impulse, especially when there are so many good deals out there. So really think about what you’ll need and use. So much food is simply thrown away over Christmas because people overestimate how much they’ll actually get through. By planning carefully and curbing any impulse buys you’ll save yourself money and reduce waste
9. Create memories with your family.
There are so many ways to create wonderful family traditions that will provide you with treasured memories for years to come, all without spending much money. Make the time to get out for a wintery walk. If you’re lucky enough to get snow, make a snowman or have a snowball fight. Go sledding. Bake together and snuggle up on the sofa to watch a favourite Christmas movie. Make snowman soup for the kids – they’ll be thrilled. You don’t have to go to expensive Santa workshops or days out if there’s not room in the budget – you can create amazing memories without spending money. It’s the time together that’s really important.
10. It may sound crazy – but hit the January sales!
If you can face up to the crowds, the Boxing Day or January sales are a fantastic opportunity to stock up on anything you might need next Christmas. As soon as Christmas is over, everything’s reduced, from cards to decorations, ornaments to gifts. If you have just a little more wiggle room in your budget, you’ll be astounded to see how far it can go in the January sales compared to before Christmas. Keep your eye out for good investments that will last so that you can continue to use them year after year. If not, don’t worry – just tuck this tip away until next year instead!
So there you have our top tips to creating a truly magical Christmas celebration whilst sticking to your budget. You’ll be able to cut back the costs without reducing the fun and festivities. By planning ahead, you’ll enjoy yourself more and you’ll stress less!