It is such an expensive time of the year, anything that can be done to cut the cost is a good idea.
Perhaps you have been saving for the past 11 months ready for a splurge this yuletide. Or more likely, you are thinking “YIKES!” it is Christmas in 26 days.
So many bloggers are calling for a complete cut in spending. The truth is if you cannot afford Christmas, then do not try. Give up presents, apart from the very young and settle for a meal with the family.
However, I love Christmas and I want to buy presents and I want to open them. I don’t want socks, or a Body Shop basket. I want something that shows you have thought about what I like. (e.g. I would be thrilled with a new Kitchen Light Fitting this year!)
And, I try to ensure my presents reflect what others want / need too.
I am happy to spend my money if I have got it, but Christmas most definitely cannot go on the Credit Cards.
There are some very simple ways of cutting the Christmas cost quickly and effectively.
1. Cull Your Christmas List. i.e. Reduce the amount of people you buy for.
Over the last few years I have reduced the amount of people I buy for every year. This year, I was talking with a very good friend and we agreed to stop the presents betweens us due to monetary constraints. This also means I can stop buying for her little ones too. Over the last few years I have managed to cull my list pretty thoroughly, and often of those people, who whilst being very good friends, are very bad gift givers.
2. Impose a Limit:
The 2 non family children I buy for only get a £5 per child spend. This year I forgot the eldest’s birthday until the day before. Harassed, I thrust a £5 in card. The little girl was over the moon and her younger brother said he wanted cash too this year. Excellent! Finding a gift for £5 is tricky and giving the money ensures I am within budget.
3. Be Truthful and Explain.
This year for close family:- Parents, Sister etc I explained that money was very tight and would they mind if I only spent £20 / person. All my family understood, as they know how difficult life has been for the last couple of years. So that reduced my Christmas bill again.
However, I will still be enjoying myself over the Christmas holidays. I have a Sewing Class meal out to look forward to and a Book Club Christmas meal too.
However, by organising the meals I got to choose the place. A good local restaurant which provides a 2 course meal for £10.90 and 3 courses for £12.90. I have already paid a £5 deposit on both meals and so with drinking water it will not be expensive at all. The menu has a good selection including a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and enough of a selection for our non meat eating friends.
The Chap has his annual friends Christmas do too a week on Saturday, which again a deposit has been paid for. I am planning on driving to reduce my overall cost of drinking and no taxi fares.
And finally, I would urge you to consider the cost of food at Christmas. I am always away staying either with parents or my sister. Yet whoever hosts, always always always receives money towards the food shop from everyone attending. It is not fair to expect anyone else to cover the cost of entertaining you this festive period.
And finally, A little Christmas Story
Many years ago I had my favourite Christmas present - A Miniature Silver Cross Pram in white with a maroon canvass hood very similar to this. It was so shiny and the bed linen was so beautiful.
I found out recently it was second hand and my Mum spent evenings cleaning it up and then sewing the linen prior to Chistmas….
moral - does everything have to be new for kids?
Wasn’t I really lucky??