It the most wonderful time of the year – except for anyone struggling to make ends meet. There’s no doubt about it: Christmas is an expensive time for all families, whatever their financial situation. Expectations are high, gift prices are extortionate, and grocery lists are never-ending.
Over the years, December has evolved into a blowout celebration that many of us just can’t afford. The pressure of making Christmas magical for our kids makes it feel like financial strain is unavoidable, but there is another way.
To avoid spending too much or getting into debt this year, here are five ways to get creative and enjoy a thrifty family Christmas.
One of the easiest ways to save yourself money this Christmas is by making your gifts, cards and decorations yourself. Rather than forking out for pricey gifts, why not search online for some thrifty “jar gift” ideas and recycle your old jam and coffee containers in the process? When it comes to Christmas cards, don’t worry if you’re not a dab hand at crafts: you can use an online card creator and send your seasons greetings electronically. You should also check Pinterest for creative homemade decorations.
Schools, colleges and office buildings tend to shift their trees before breaking up for the holidays, so why not ask around to see if you could find a recycled one? It might mean waiting a little longer than your neighbors, but as long as you have it up in time for Christmas, you’ll get to display a beautiful tree without paying through the nose.
Organizing a secret Santa with your family will mean you only have to buy one thoughtful gift instead of ten. Rather than everybody going home with piles of presents they don’t want or need, you can all save yourselves time and money by only buying for one recipient and setting a price limit. Obviously, young children might receive more than one gift, but for the adults, you can cut costs and negate the need for stressful Christmas shopping. Use an online secret Santa generator to keep things top secret.
Recycled Gift Wrap
Stockpile your gift wrap each year, and you will save yourself the hassle and expense of buying it new. Just make sure you unwrap your gifts carefully and remove tape and bows before storing. Alternatively, brown parcel paper is incredibly cheap to buy in bulk, and with a festive bow or some crafty decoration, it can look just as good as pricey wrapping paper. You can also keep ribbons, gift tags, and even Christmas cards and look for creative ways to upcycle them.
Just because you’re hosting Christmas, that doesn’t mean you have to tackle the enormous expense on your own. Ask each of your guests to bring a food contribution, and you’ll have a delicious, makeshift Christmas dinner. It goes without saying that you’ll save money by making puddings yourself rather than buying pre-made cakes, but don’t go overboard as all those ingredients can quickly tot up.
Christmas can be an expensive time, but by following these five thrifty tips, you can save your family money this year. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress of the holidays, but you’ll be in a much better position to start saving for a vacation when January comes around!