I love Christmas, and the lead up to it for many reasons; watching Christmas films ( Love Actually, Home Alone, ELF, need I go on?) being able to decorate the house in fairy lights, it being acceptable to put Baileys in your hot chocolate on a weekday afternoon: I rest my case. But although, I am a keen bean about Christmas, it does also stress me out for a few reasons. One of the main ones is money. Buying presents, buying the food for Christmas dinner, funding parties (and new outfits) etc… it can be an expensive time. This year, we are making a vow to not be so spendy, I’ve managed to gather some tips over the past couple of years which have saved us some pounds here and there.
I feel like over the past few years, there is so much pressure on buying presents. It’s that awkward situation of feeling like you need to buy everyone gifts, and I don’t know why we all do it. You end up stressed and skint which does always fill me a little with dread. So this year, we making some changes, and hopefully it will cut out some of the expense and stress.
The thing is, Christmas isn’t about presents in my book. Sure I love Christmas but it isn’t cause of receiving gifts, I mean it probably was when I was like 5, but now I’m in my twenties? Nope. And I’m sure many of your family/friends feel the same way. I’m sure that if you are really strapped for cash, then your family and friends will understand about cutting back on presents. We’ve had chats with our family and we’re all fine about it as we all understand. However, I know that not everyone will be okay with this and I don’t like to give out no presents at all so I do have some other ideas, for gifts on a budget.
- Get Crafty: Even if you’re a bit cack handed like me, DIY gifts needn’t be hard. I’ve done a post here on some DIY gift ideas, so give it a look if you fancy making a thoughtful gift for a fraction of the price. Other than that, Pinterest and google are your best friends for ideas.
- Look For Discounts: If you’ve got particular gifts in mind for loved ones, why not look for discount codes, compare different shops, use discount days and perhaps sign up for newsletters for exclusive discounts. I tend to have a shopping rule (and not just for Christmas) that I only buy online when there’s a discount code. It will save you a bit of money at least 🙂
- Do A Secret Santa: Instead of perhaps buying for everyone, why not suggest to your family, to do a secret Santa, set up a budget and give each other a list of things you’d like. I know that I’d rather get one present that I really want rather than lots of presents I may not need.
But don’t stress, perhaps go joint on presents with siblings and so forth, we are keeping things very simple this year with presents and it doesn’t mean you’re being unthoughtful or selfish, there is no need to spend money you don’t have and I am sure that your family and friends would prefer you not to do that either.
For the past few years, we’ve cooked Christmas dinner, we’ve catered for 4-8 people and cooking the dinner does break me out in a cold sweat ( I am a control freak who does usually have a nightmare about forgetting the roast potatoes or something) but it can be expensive catering for a huge amount of people, but it needn’t be.
First of all. if you’re catering for a lot of people, why not ask if people could chip in, whether it’s money for the food, or suggest someone buys the meat, someone buys the pudding, someone buys the veg, so it’s a not all resting on one person.
Other than that, we have found that we have found that shopping at different shops is a great way to save money. For example, we buy our vegetables from places like Aldi/Lidl which are so cheap for potatoes, carrots, sprouts and are the exactly the same as the ones you get in like Tesco. We find that shopping at different places means you can scope out the best deals. Buying our veg and snacks from Aldi has saved us a good £20 for the past couple of years, which is an absolute winner!
Things To Do:
December always end up being a super busy month, parties, drinks, get together’s, it seems that Christmas makes everyone get in touch and be like ‘hey let’s do something!’ There’s work parties, family parties, nights out and where do you stop? It brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking how much money everything costs. However, for the past couple of years, I’ve been on a budget at Christmas time, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors under a blanket sad whilst everyone else has fun. There are so many ways to do stuff but not spend a huge amount of money and trust me, I know!
Christmas Markets: I love a good Christmas market, and I’m pretty sure that most of them are free to go round. It’s the food/drinks/rides that adds up, I swear last year, I saw a stall charging a weeks rent for a Baileys Hot Chocolate and a Nutella Crepe. I always think that Christmas Markets have a lovely atmosphere so technically you don’t have to spend any money, you could always take a flask with you (with your own hot chocolate) or just wait till you get home. I do sometimes feel like, I’m diddling myself but then I think ‘come on, you can make them just as good at home.’ I know, I’m a party pooper.
Have A Night In: Okay so I know this sounds a bit boring, but hear me out. Going out at Christmas is SO expensive, meals are suddenly £236263 for three courses, drinks are hiked up and ugh it’s never worth the money. So instead, I’ve been having nights in to make things a bit cheaper and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dull. Something I will be doing this year, is having a cosy movie night. Get everyone to bring round snacks/drinks, I’m feeling wine, and hot chocolate of course. Get everyone to bring round pyjamas or maybe even turn it into a sleepover and then chill and watch films, whether it’s Christmas films or whatever your fancy, I always would rather do this than go out in the cold and spend a fortune (yes I’m a grandma.)
So these are my top tips for saving money this Christmas, and ones that don’t leave you feeling too much like a Scrooge!
Do you have any top tips on how to save money?