Christmas this year is going to be difficult for many families. As the days get colder and darker, we have to spend more money on our energy bills. This, combined with a rise in prices across most sectors of society, means that people will have stricter budgets this Christmas. A holiday with traditions of being with family, eating copious amounts of food, and giving gifts. This year the holiday should return to being about spending time with loved ones rather than spending money on them. Budgeting is going to be a requirement for many of us. But that doesn’t mean our Christmas will suffer. We have created a list of some budget-friendly ways to celebrate this year:
Agree on Price Limits
Having multiple people to buy gifts for at Christmas can be expensive. Likely, the people you are buying for are also budgeting this year. Setting a budget may benefit both parties! Setting and sticking to a budget will also mean not feeling guilty if you’ve spent less on the other person.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Father Christmas doesn’t have to be the only person who makes a list and checks it twice. You create a plan by writing down whom you buy for before shopping. You can also write down a few suggestions for the person so that when you are in the thick of it amongst the sales, you are not side-tracked and overspend. Going gift shopping without a plan may lead to you buying for someone you don’t need to.
Use Your Loyalty Cards
With the current economy pushing consumers to save rather than spend, more stores incentivise customers. Make the most of your money by shopping using loyalty cards and points. Having a Boots card will mean collecting points you can use to purchase items. Being a Tesco Clubcard holder means accessing their attention-grabbing Clubcard discounts. When checking out at stores where you are not a member, consider signing up when prompted by checkout staff. Signing up with stores like Pets at Home and H&M will give you a discount on your first shop as a member. Make your money go further by signing up, even if it does mean you get more junk emails!
Everyone Brings a Dish
If you are hosting Christmas dinner or even Boxing Day lunch, ask your guests to bring a dish. Dividing up the cooking not only gives people more time to relax outside the kitchen but also means it isn’t one household stuck with the whole bill. Got your sibling coming for Christmas dinner? Ask them to bring the veg! Got the in-laws coming? Ask them to bring something for dessert!
Reuse and Re-gift
Reusing present bags, gift boxes, gift tags, and wrapping paper can reduce the money you spend at Christmas. Not only will this benefit your bank account, but it is also a more sustainable option, as 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away yearly. Re-gifting is also a sustainable option that will save you money at Christmas. If you have received a gift that is not quite your style and you won’t use it, save it; re-gift it! There is a negative stigma around regifting that it is insensitive. However, it is a sustainable way of giving a gift to someone who would use and love it. If you to avoid a gift sitting and gathering dust in your cupboard and you don’t know anyone who would use it, sell it. It is more wasteful to be sat somewhere until it is eventually thrown away. Alternatively, you could donate any unwanted gifts to charity.
Swap Decs with Friends
Suppose you are tired of your usual Christmas decorations and want to switch things up, swap decorations with friends and family. Swap your tree décor for theirs to give your space a new feel while saving money. This could be a tradition you start between friends or relatives and will make every Christmas different.
It’s the Thought that Counts
An old saying that gets truer with age. Many people would choose a thoughtful gift over an expensive one. This Christmas, prioritise thoughtfulness over the price tag. Feel free to spend less if you find the perfect gift for someone at a low price. This returns the idea of gift giving back to something more memorable rather than being a materialistic obligation.
DIY Your Gifts
When one thinks of a DIY gift, many of us think about our childhoods and making glitter macaroni photo frames for our loved ones. Being at school and placing brown paint on our hands to create a homemade reindeer artwork. Making presents can extend into adulthood. Make homemade sugar scrubs for those in your life that love a pamper. Create a ready-to-go recipe with portioned-out ingredients and step-by-step instructions. Create hot chocolate kits where all someone must do is pour it into a mug and add hot water.
Ditch the Traditions that Don’t Suit You
There may be aspects of Christmas you don’t subscribe to but still do to people please. For some, this is the tradition of sending Christmas cards across the country to distant relatives. Each year 1 billion Christmas cards are put in the bin, with 300,000 tonnes of card packaging used and wasted. Keep your Christmas card list small to save money on stamps and avoid delays due to Royal Mail strikes. Only send cards to the people you want to. It is much cheaper to send a thoughtful message over text wishing someone a Merry Christmas. You can also start your own Christmas traditions that don’t break the bank. Walk around your neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights outside people’s houses. Bring a travel mug filled with your hot drink of choice, wrap up warm, and feel festive in no time.
Shop for Deals
High street shops are the go-to retail spot for many people at Christmas. Consider shopping around for your gifts. Try small and local businesses for a unique gift. Looking at eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Vinted is not only a sustainable way of buying gifts by giving items a second life rather than ending up in the bin. They are also often priced cheaper and can be brand new.
Don’t Let the Packaging Fool You
Martin Lewis, a national treasure for all things finances, writes on saving money by downshifting. When shopping in supermarkets, buy the store’s own brand products rather than buying the finest or named brands. There is often little difference, and people are unlikely to tell, which will save you money.