I know what you are thinking, surely it’s too early to mention the C word? We haven’t yet dug out our winter woolies, but Christmas will be here before we know it. Making ends meet as single parents or low income families is tough at the best of times, but pulling off Christmas on a budget feels almost impossible to achieve. Despite the autumnal breeze, I want to share how I prepare for Christmas on a budget with you.
In this post you’ll find frugal gift inspiration, money saving ideas and budget friendly Christmas dinner tips and tricks. I highly recommend that you start saving as early as possible. I start saving for Christmas as soon as the summer holidays begin. Whenever I have a spare few pounds I top up the fund and every so often I add more substantial amounts so that I don’t have to worry quite so much. I can give you all the advice in the world, but unless you have a starting point, a fund in which to work with, you may struggle to balance bills with festive fun.
Christmas dinner is one of my favourite parts of Christmas Day. However, for those hosting, a Christmas dinner can be costly. In order to reduce the cost of your Christmas dinner you should first ensure you have plenty of freezer space. Then, whenever you see offers in the shops on meat, veg or sweet treats you can freeze until required.
You could even put a festive spin on ‘bring a bottle’ and ask your guests to bring along a meal component each instead. For example, you provide the meat, your parents provide the veg, your brother provides pudding etc.
Many feel an immense pressure to provide costly gifts, especially for the kids. I know I struggle every year, I always find myself caught between what I want to get the kids and what I can actually afford to get them. I always keep an eye out for bargains on Facebook, the Extreme Couponing And Bargains UK page is fantastic. Homemade gifts made by the children are always well received by grandparents, aunties and uncles, so why don’t you let the kids loose on the craft cupboard? It’s a win win situation, you don’t have to spend out on gifts with no sentimental value and the kids will have a fantastic time creating works of art for their loved ones.
It’s never too soon to make purchases. If you see a good deal, grab it before the price shoots back up and hide it away until it is required. Never go for the first price you see, shop around and make sure your getting good value for money. If I see something I know the children will love, I always check sites such as Amazon and Ebay to see if I can get the same item at a lower price. Always check voucher code websites before making a purchase – there are thousands of voucher codes available.
I think it is vital to work out what you can realistically afford to spend on each person you wish to buy for. That way, you know exactly how much you have to work with and you don’t make promises you aren’t sure you can keep. For example, the children have asked on countless occasions to go to Disneyland, but I know it’s just not possible, so instead of saying ‘we’ll see’ I am honest with them and explain that I can’t get their hopes up when I’m unsure if I’ll ever be able to afford it! Working out what you can afford will also ensure that your budget doesn’t run out before you’ve finished gift shopping!
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but money worries have the potential to destory the festive season for many. By implementing these strategies, I have hugely decreased the amount of stress surrounding Christmas for myself, leaving me free to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with my children. If you have any other budget Christmas tips and tricks please do let me know in the comments below.