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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved from having a huge, expensive and lavish Christmas Day to a more simple – but still amazing – Christmas on a budget, especially once the kids started coming along. Christmas now requires little effort to plan and execute while still being just as fun and festive as previous years!
So if you want to keep rocking around the Christmas tree this year without the worry, here’s my thoughtful spending and money-saving tips for an amazing and stress-free Christmas on a budget.
Set Your Budget
Make a list, and check it twice, of all your planned Christmas spending – gifts, food and drinks, decorations, entertainment and travel. Make sure you allow a buffer for any unexpected or forgotten expenses, and then track your spending to make sure there is no budget blow-out.
Need extra cash for Christmas? Check out our post on 10 ways to make $1,000+ for Christmas!
Simplify Decorating and Gift Giving
There are plenty of ways to simplify decorating and gift-giving at Christmas, saving you both time and money without detracting from the spirit of the season.
Be intentional – don’t buy gifts for the sake of it. Be thoughtful in what you give. For our kids, Santa provides stocking stuffers only, while gifts from mum and dad follow this little list:
Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear,
Something to read.
Give fewer gifts – not everyone needs a gift! Have a chat with your family to discuss gift-giving this year – perhaps a gift for each child only and not for adults? Or a family Kris Kringle / Secret Santa? Or maybe just a shared meal and spending time together, or setting a spending limit on gift-giving.
Experiences as gifts – we love to travel and do things together as a family, so experiences are usually top of our list, such as concert tickets, passes to the zoo or museum, movie vouchers, or a weekend away.
Make gifts – for something truly memorable, personal, and useful, make your gifts! Something as simple as fudge, a recipe in a jar, or even some home-cooked meals for another busy parent is often much more appreciated.
Do away with wrapping paper and cards – exchanging Christmas cards is becoming a thing of the past it seems! Instead of wrapping paper, purchase Santa sacks or gift bags that can be reused again and again, saving money and also the environment.
Decorating – you don’t need to head out to the shops to purchase new decorations every year! Use want you have at home from previous years, or do without things like crackers. Search your garden for fresh flowers and greenery to brighten up your home, or Google Christmas crafts for the kids to complete and decorate with.
Share The Entertaining Load
The costs of Christmas entertaining can really add up, especially if you are hosting! Here are a few tips to help with the ‘entertaining load’ when doing Christmas on a budget.
Share it out – ask people to each bring a salad or dessert, or contribute a dish to ‘potluck’ style dinner.
Keep it simple – you don’t need to have a lavish feast, so keep it simple with just a few special dishes or meals! Even better, make up a massive grazing platter or table so everyone can snack all day long.
Prepare ahead – plan the menu and buy only what you need to avoid wasting leftovers. Prepare what you can ahead of time to save last-minute shopping runs for a forgotten ingredient. If you know that you will most likely have leftovers, plan meals to use them up or freeze them for another time.
Avoid the crazy crowds at the shopping centre, and get your Christmas list ticked off from the comfort of your own lounge while sipping a glass of wine, watching Netflix, or whatever you like! Get the Christmas groceries and drinks delivered or collected in the days prior to Christmas Eve, and take advantage of cashback sites when shopping with hundreds of retailers for additional savings that’ll help your Christmas on a budget.
Have A Pre-Christmas Clean Up
Go through your home and clear out any old clutter and unused items, which you can either dump, donate or sell. Your house will be clean, fresh and ready for all the Christmas festivities, and you’ll have the bonus of extra cash from selling unwanted items.
Plan For Next Year
Once the craziness of another Christmas is all over, plan for the next year! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated, just something as simple as putting away $10 a week into an account for Christmas spending, or buying gifts throughout the year when they are on sale, will all help with having a fun and stress-free Christmas on a budget, year after year.
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