Yesterday, I noticed that it’s just three months until Christmas, so if you haven’t started your preparations yet, now is a good point to start thinking about gifts, decorations, entertaining and the Christmas food shop. Those three months might not seem like a long time but if you want to/have to celebrate Christmas on a budget, there are still a couple things you can do to save money.
Some of these tips require some planning in advance, so make sure to pin this post for next year, but a lot of them help you save some money right now, so you can celebrate a budget-friendly Christmas without breaking the bank or having to consider instant loans or buying on credit.
How to celebrate Christmas on a budget
Now, before we get into all the tips and tricks for shopping, entertaining or gifting, I think it’s important to evaluate what Christmas is really about for you. Obviously, it’s different for everyone else but for me, Christmas is all about spending quality time with my family. Gifts are really not important, it’s the memories that count and I think by highlighting that and discussing that as a family, you take a lot of pressure out of the whole event. ’tis the season to be jolly, after all!
Christmas on a budget: Presents
- Write a list of everyone you want to buy for and set yourself a budget! Check off whenever you’ve bought a gift to avoid buying double.
- If you have a big family, Secret Santa is a great idea to limit your spending to just one person.
- Agree to just buy gifts for the children of your family.
- Buy presents throughout the year to spread the cost.
- Use loyalty or bonus points to buy Christmas presents.
- Shop Black Friday sales and buy special offers such as 3 for 2 deals.
- eBay, charity shops and car boot sales are great places to get completely new items at a fraction of the price.
- Give time instead of physical gifts, e.g. vouchers for babysitting, lawn mowing etc.
- Make your own gifts/hampers filled with chocolate bark, chocolate truffles or cookies and use leftovers when entertaining
- Keep unwanted and duplicate gifts and re-gift them but make sure not to give them back to the person who gave them to you.
- Make ‘vouchers’ for days out with the kids, eg. cinema and dinner, soft play etc. – it gives them something to look forward to after Christmas and you another payday or two.
Christmas on a budget: Wrapping
- Buy wrapping paper, ribbons and cards in the January sale or Poundshop.
- Use brown paper and string for a cheaper option that gives you a beautiful traditional look.
- If you prefer a little more colour, let your kids decorate sheets of brown paper with cookie cutter prints or little drawings.
- Reuse gift bags or boxes year after year, there’s no need to buy new ones when they’ve just been used once.
- Skip some of the wrapping by putting all of your kids’ presents in a stocking/sack.
Christmas on a budget: Decorations
- As with gifts and wrapping paper, it’s a great idea to pick decorations up in the January sales. You’ll get them at a fraction of the price.
- Switch to LED lights, they’re so much cheaper in the long run.
- Make your own wreath or centrepieces using pine cones, pine twigs or berries
- Let your children make ornaments or decorations using salt dough, paper or ribbon
- Take part in an ornament swap with friends, family or colleagues to keep your decor up to date year after year.
- Check Freecycle for freebies: Many people get rid of decorations that are perfectly fine just because they got bored of them or the colour scheme doesn’t fit their home anymore.
- Store your decorations properly, so you don’t have to replace them as often.
- Making the switch to an artificial tree might pain you, but it’s so much cheaper than buying a new tree every year.
Christmas on a budget: Entertaining
- Ask everyone to bring a dish/bottle to the family Christmas dinner. This doesn’t only save cash and time but also makes sure there’s at least one thing they like.
- Buy Christmas food as soon as the promotions start, they last for ages and are much cheaper than in the immediate run-up to Christmas.
- Ditch products with fancy Christmas packaging. Crackers are crackers, the Christmas tree on the box makes them doesn’t make them any different.
- Buy cheaper meats such as gammon or beef for Christmas dinner as opposed to an over-priced turkey.
- If you can make it yourself, it’s usually cheaper to do so. Homemade pigs in blankets or mince pies are done in a couple of minutes and are often so much nicer than ready-made products.
- Try to use supermarkets’ own brands where possible. The savings will add up soon.
Christmas on a budget: Make some extra cash
- Survey websites such as Swagbucks or Prolific (my personal favourite) allow you to earn some extra cash fairly quickly by filling in questionnaires on a variety of topics and cash out to PayPal or convert into gift cards for Amazon.
- Apps such as Shoppix, Receipt Hog and Life Points reward you for uploading your shopping receipts and can help you earn some extra cash.
- Enter competitions throughout the year or specific Christmas competitions to win cash prizes, gifts or even your Christmas tree.
- Sell unwanted items on eBay or Facebook: You won’t just make space for all those gifts but also earn some money towards your Christmas shopping
- Use cashback sites such as Top Cash Back to make some money back when shopping online.
These are just some ideas to help you celebrate Christmas on a budget. What do you do to keep the costs down?
Thank you to Beth, Jen, Becky, Rebecca, Emma, Michelle, Beth, Maria, Jo, Katy, Lucy, Francesca, Fariba, Gemma, Kate, Emma, Victoria, Charlie, Jade, Pete, Racheal, Hollie, Emily, Lianne, Hayley, Nikki, Care, Tracey, Carla, Jacqui, Chloe, Epril, Alex for their contributions to this collaborative post.