As a child, I used to love Christmas much like most children across the globe. It was such a magical time, I still love Christmas mainly because of time spent with loved ones as well as a break from work. These days I run Christmas on a budget though. It can for many though be a time of stress and worry mainly due to financial constraints and the need to not let your children down.
Having Christmas on a budget is not something to be ashamed of and I am going to let you into the 9 frugal ways I prepare for Christmas on a budget.
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If you are struggling every Christmas with money then there are places that can help. Remember you don’t need to spend the earth to have an enjoyable day. It is also important to remember it is just one day.
These tips are the tips I use which help me in saving money for Christmas in order to cut the amount I spend and have a more frugal Christmas but still have a fantastic day with the family.
Bear in mind that nearly all of these tips require you to do some preparation work and to get this preparation done early on in the year. With that in mind some of these tips you will need to keep in mind for next year as it could be too late already to implement the tips this year.
Christmas On A Budget
1: Buy Your Alcohol & Drinks Early
We all know what those supermarkets are like come Christmas time. They are all packed with desperate people trying to get their hands on the last crate of beer or the Jack Daniels that is on special offer and let’s face it this is most peoples idea of hell. Christmas on a budget seems impossible when faced with the alcohol aisle.
Well certainly for me. I have been there and done that but no more. I now have a cupboard in my kitchen which is my least used cupboard where I keep all my alcohol and soft drinks just for Christmas.
Throughout the whole year while doing food shops I keep an eye out for special deals on Alcohol. As soon as I see it at a good price I snap it up and store it at home for the festive period. I usually save at least £50 doing it this way. I do the same with soft drinks such as J20’s and Coke Zero.
Buy them on special and store them for Christmas on a budget. If you are looking at saving money for Christmas then this is one of the better ways of doing just that.
2: Buy Your Presents In January
January is probably the best time of the year to buy presents. Yes, it still means you have to go to the shops and mingle to buy your presents.
The January sales will offer up some absolute gems when it comes to presents for the family. We usually have a big plastic box which we store small gifts in and then use for Birthdays and special occasions. The same goes for my Christmas on a budget.
Buy gifts for friends and family in January and store them until Christmas. Also, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great days to buy gifts for cheap and then store until Christmas. Plus buying your gifts on these days also means you dont have to leave your house.
3: Secret Santa
This has been something my family have done now for a few festive periods and to be honest it saves me a lot of money. You cant say Christmas on a budget without a secret Santa discussion.
So it is primarily best for adults as we won’t be disappointed with fewer presents unlike the children but basically, in my family there is me, my wife, my 2 sisters and their husbands and 2 adult children. All in there is 8 of us, Normally we would have spent around £10 on each person which is £80. A little pricey if you are looking to save money at Christmas.
What we do know is everyone gets given a name randomly, and no-one else knows who they have got. You then spend £20-25 on that one person. No-one knows who they got their present form and you save money. Its a great idea and you end up with one perfect present usually instead of 8 cheap presents. Everyone is a winner, and you are doing Christmas on a budget.
4: Set Your Budget
Setting a Christmas on a budget, Budget can be difficult but it is necessary to enable you to not overspend. It sounds rubbish but believes me and I’m sure you know yourself when it gets nearer to Christmas the temptation to pull out that credit card and say “sod it” becomes greater and greater.
If you set a Christmas budget and you stick to it then come that long January you are going to be so please you did and all without the dread of a large credit card bill coming through the post or dropping into your email box.
When you go out shopping for Christmas I think it is always important to take along a sensible friend or family member who can be there to reign you in if necessary.
Listen we all love a nice shiny lit-up home at Christmas but this can be expensive. I have lost count of the number of times I have been out or online and wondered if I still have those nice led lights for the tree or did I throw them out.
It all ends up with me buying another set of led lights at a cost of £20-30 and then by the time you have brought some more lights for the window or garden before you know it you have spent £100.
If you have to buy lights and decorations try and buy second hand. It sounds bad but in reality, buying decorations and lights etc off of eBay or your local Facebook ads will save you a ton of money every year.
6: Dont Buy Food You Wont Eat
This sounds silly, doesn’t it? Well, why would I buy food I’m not going to eat? Well, the problem is we do. I will eat a mince pie but they are not my favourite thing to eat and I wouldn’t eat them at any other time of the year. Most of my family feel the same yet there we are every year buying 4 boxes of 6.
Why do it to yourselves. This goes for all sorts of food and drink. Just before you buy it have a think and say to yourself would I eat this if it wasn’t Christmas. Chances are it isn’t just mince pies that would get cut. Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and Sausage rolls are all things that I’m not that bothered by and generally wouldn’t eat usually.
The same goes with drink, I used to buy 3 or 4 crates of lager and 2 or 3 bottles of spirits for Christmas when in actual fact I generally am only at home for 4 or 5 days so I would then have a load of alcohol left stretching into January when you don’t want it anyway as you are trying to be healthy after Christmas.
All I’m saying is think before buying your food and drink and you can save a fortune.
7: Saving Early
So if you do wish to spend and not have Christmas on a budget, then the best thing you can do is start to save early. If you just put £50 a month away then come December you could have enough money to pay for a really good Christmas.
It sounds simple enough but not having to spend hundreds of pounds in just one month on one single day is a relief to many people who do it this way.
Putting cash away on a weekly or monthly basis can definitely help soften the blow when it comes to your big December shopping bill.
8: No-Spend Weekends
So in relation to the above in terms of saving money throughout the year. Having a no-spend weekend or more than one is an ideal way to find the money to put by each week or month to facilitate your Christmas on a budget.
If you are not sure what a No-spend weekend is then I have written a post about the best things to do on a No-spend weekend.
You could save £5 or you could end up saving £50 but whatever you save and don’t end up spending like you normally would have has to go into your Christmas budget.
No-spend weekends are also a great way to get the family together and get you doing different things with each other that you may not normally do.
9: Automated Savings
So the thought of doing Christmas on a budget is not appealing as you have so many people to buy presents for and the 16 people over for Christmas day. The best thing to do is like I said above start saving early.
This can, of course, be difficult for some people. I’m not the best saver in the world and do need a little push from time to time which is why I use budgeting and savings apps.
The one I currently use is Plum. The plum app is a handy little app which has lots of user rules you can set. I have mine set to take out a small amount at the start of each month and then it also rounds up any debit card purchases to the nearest pound and then sets that aside as well. It is quite possible for the plum app to set aside between £35-60 per month for me and you dont even have to do it yourself it is automatic.
There are various other budgeting apps that will do the same. The Spendee app is another good one I have spent some time using.
Whichever one you decide to use these apps can certainly help you to save money towards Christmas so that you and your family can have a great festive period.
Christmas On A Budget Summary:
Whatever way you choose to either save money for Christmas or save money on Christmas I hope you all have a fantastic festive period and if any of you reading this can add any other ways you have used to save at Christmas then let me know in the comments section.