Christmas can be a very fun time of year with parties, family catch ups, food and gifts! Christmas can also be very, very expensive. If you are looking for some practical tips on how to save money this festive season, here are Vicki’s 17 bright ideas to save money on Christmas:
Plan ahead – The key to all cost reduction is looking at all your commitments and planning ahead. Write a list of all the functions you have and who you need to buy gifts for. Make a list of everything you plan on buying then look at where you can reduce.
Stick to a budget – Work out what you can afford and then allocate a limit on each area of Christmas. You will be amazed at how much Christmas is costing you when you think about gifts, food, decorations, travel & postage, clothing, wrapping & cards etc. Once you set your budget, try very hard to stick to it. You might even want to have a small budget for any Christmas emergencies.
Send E-Cards & use social media – Sending an e-card or a Tweet on Christmas day is a much more cost effective way to send seasons greeting, especially if you have many friends interstate or overseas.
Stock-up during sales – Look for Christmas food and gifts when stores are having sales. The best time to buy Christmas decorations is straight after Christmas so think ahead. This is a great way to save money on Christmas.
Encourage Kris Kringle – A Kris Kringle is a very good way to save money on Christmas presents, especially if you have a large family. Most people would appreciate one quality gift over a lot of smaller gifts and you’ll also save money on wrapping paper.
Allow others to help with cooking – If you are the person who is cooking Christmas lunch or dinner this year, don’t just encourage others to bring something – insist on it. Allocate others certain dishes when inviting them to your celebration. That way you will know what everyone is bringing and you can cut down your own food costs.
Cook less food – Chances are that most years, when you cook, you cook too much. Plan your meal and make sure you will have just enough for all your guests (as well as some left overs for Boxing day) and possibly look to downsize from the 5kg Turkey.
Drink less – Alcohol can be a very expensive part of Christmas. You can either drink less alcohol, look to stock up during the year when sales are on or make your drinks go further by making up a Christmas punch with sparkling wine + lemonade + ginger ale + fruit juice + mint and serve chilled.
Buy vouchers – Sending gifts interstate or overseas can get very expensive. Aim to send smaller gifts to loved ones far away. Look at buying vouchers or subscriptions or look for online stores who have free delivery and send the gifts direct.
Make your own Christmas decorations – Walking into a department store and seeing all the beautifully dressed trees and tables can be very alluring and the temptation to buy new table clothes, wreaths and tree baubles can be very overwhelming . Instead of paying the high price for store decorations, why not look at ways to make your own. String popcorn onto some thread and hang on your tree. Make colourful pom poms to use as baubles. Go to the park and look for twigs to make into a Christmas wreath. Get the kids to draw Fairies and Elves, print out the faces of your family and stick them on the drawings then laminate them and hang on your tree. Sometimes the homemade decorations will become your treasured decorations in the future. The kids will also love this way to save money on Christmas.
Use your reward points – Why not save up your rewards points from all your loyalty programs especially to use on Christmas gifts? You can even redeem your points for store vouchers that can help with food purchases as well as gifts.
Cook basic food – Using exotic ingredients or recipes with 25 ingredients can be a lot of fun and a great way to show off your cooking skills but they also add up to a lot of extra costs. Stick to basic recipes where ingredients are readily available and simple recipes that only need 6 or 8 ingredients. No one will think any less of you.
Shop around – If you have planned ahead, then you will have the ability to look around for the best deals. It can take some time to find the best price on the latest Barbie Doll or Scooter so give yourself plenty of time. Keep an eye on internet specials and avoid last minute rush purchases when you don’t care what things cost as long as you find something.
Don’t go overboard on the kids – Most parents want their kids to have everything. We all have a romantic vision of a Christmas Tree with hundreds of presents under it. If you want to save money, tell the kids they can have 2 gifts each. Chances are they will ask for exactly what they want and be very happy with it. Often, when kids have too much to play with they don’t appreciate the gifts. Less gifts doesn’t mean you love them less.
Make just 1 shopping trip – Visiting a shopping centre can be costly at Christmas time so plan ahead and then make one trip. This way you can reduce the cost of petrol, parking, refreshments and unplanned purchases. Take advantages of special shopping nights for great offers and complimentary refreshments to save money on Christmas
Reduce the number of people you buy gifts for – Buying a gift for your Cleaner, Doctor, Postman and Hairdresser is a lovely idea but the cost really does add up. This year, why not give something you make like some Christmas cookies or a picture drawn by your kids. The sentiment will still be there.
Get invited to someone’s Christmas Day – One sure fire way to reduce the cost of Christmas Day is to go to someone else’s house. You can always bring a dish and drinks but not having all the festivities at your house means less decoration costs and lower food costs.
- Tags: save money on Christmas, Christmas on a budget, Save money this xmas, Christmas cost less, Christmas savings, festive season on a budget, mums websites, bright ideas,