December 01, 2015
From the presents to the spread on the dinner table and the numerous events in the lead up to the day itself, Christmas can become an expensive exercise. While it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the festive season, there are some clever ways to have a memorable Christmas without blowing out the budget.
Set your budget early
Before the silly season kicks in to full swing, know your budget and what you can afford to spend. Don’t just consider gifts, either. Other expenses include groceries, parties (drinks, meals out and taxi fares), accommodation and petrol if you are going away, and activities in the days you are off work (this might include going to the cinema or trips to the beach). All of these things add up very quickly. Understand how much you can spend across the entire period and break each part of the budget down from there.
Make a list
Before hitting the shops, have a list of people you need to buy for, some gift ideas and how much you can afford to spend on each person. Take this list to the shops with you and refer back to it when you are tempted to splurge.
Can’t handle the temptation of the shops and pushy sales assistants? Try shopping online instead. Online shopping makes it easy to compare prices for the same product, so you end up getting the best deal. Just be sure to purchase your presents early to ensure they will reach you in time for Christmas.
For those who are difficult to buy for, you could consider a charity donation that matches your budget.
Give handmade gifts
Homemade gifts can be as cheap or expensive as you like. From a framed photo to a hamper full of a person’s favourite things, these gifts can be very sentimental without breaking the budget.
Handmade gift ideas include:
Personalised hampers you’ve put together yourself
Potted herb gardens (get creative and paint the pot too)
Start a secret santa
Buying presents for every member in your family is a sure way to stretch the budget – particularly if you have a number of siblings or nieces and nephews to buy for. To reduce the number of people on your list, you might like to suggest the idea of a secret santa.
Start planning for next year
One way to ensure you have enough money come December is to set up a savings fund in January. Deposit a small amount of money in this each week and you’ll have a tidy sum of cash come next Christmas.
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