How to budget for Christmas
It’s never too late to try to budget for any event, but at Christmas time, it should be about being at home and spending quality time with family. It’s not any fun if you spend it worrying about how much it is all going to cost.
There are many ways to give your loved ones a day to remember and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Let us make you some money first!
If you have any unwanted gifts from the year before, clothes that no longer fit, an attic full of stuff that you haven’t looked at in the last six months, old toys, furniture, sell them throughout the year and save the money, or if you’re running out of cash a few months before Christmas, get rid of it on:
- Your local Facebook selling pages
- A local boot sale
Children under the age of 10 should be given priority where gifts are concerned. During the month of November, you can usually pick up some fantastic bargains from the high street or online retailers. If your child’s main present is going to break the bank, don’t do it. You will only put yourself and your family through a miserable January. Go online, find a deal, join a cash back site. Pound shops these days have fantastic gifts for children of all ages and you will probably find something there for Nan or Grandad too!
Older children can be quite happy with receiving cash to spend in the sales or gift cards which can seriously reduce your outgoings. Most of the older children I know love video games, consoles and accessories.
Where consoles are concerned, you can pick up a bargain on certified refurbished items. This means that the console is tested and certified by the manufacturer or by a third-party refurbisher to look and work like new, with limited to no signs of wear. You can make some savings by doing this.
Older children’s gifts can be much more expensive but remember, older children should understand the real concept of Christmas and you should not feel under pressure to produce that expensive designer jacket or jeans. It is better to budget throughout the year and save a little each week or month, but sometimes this is not possible.
There are ways around this:
- You could buy now pay later, but again, do you really want to spend January miserable
- You could scour eBay for something nearly new or in very good condition or your local Facebook selling pages.
Communication is key and getting your child’s head around the fact that “these things are not always possible” will help them to understand life for many people in the same boat. Never bury your head with it, always be open and honest.
Try making something from home to give to a loved one.
Last year a good friend of ours placed a beautiful picture of both of our daughters in a photo frame. Out of all the presents, we all opened that year, the memory of this one is still with us.
We made cookies to give to our children’s friends and teachers at school. Not only did we all enjoy baking as a family, we had enough leftover for Christmas Day!
Not only is it fun to see what you actually get, it makes it fun for everyone because no one knows who chose each gift.
Everyone’s names are placed into a hat or box and mixed up. Each person in the game chooses one name from the box but doesn’t tell anyone which name they picked. An amount is set to spend on each gift and the gift is then collected from a family members home either on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning under the tree.
If you spend approximately £200 or more every year on gifts for family members (not including your children or your partner), this can be a very cost-effective way of handling Christmas wisely. The amount to spend could be set amongst the family, but if you all agree to spend £50 exactly (which is quite generous!), that is already a saving of £150!
If you are not seeing certain family members before Christmas, wait until after Christmas to buy their gift. You could save up to 50% after 25th December!
For some reason, we all go mad with this. We stuff our cupboards full of food that usually goes off before we get a chance to use it. This year budget and choose to shop wisely.
If you know your friends or family members aren’t popping round until the 28th December, don’t buy it until the day before or even the morning before. Presents, wrapping paper, cards, food and alcohol are usually on sale by that time.
Remember, there are sales going on and some of these include all that lovely food that wasn’t sold before Christmas!