With each year that passes, more demands are made on parents to deliver a show-stopping Christmas bonanza for their children. But what if your budget is shrinking with every year? Read on for inspiration and ideas to help in the war against Christmas overspend – you can win if you know how!
Ask any (honest) child what’s the best thing about Christmas, and they’ll respond in a heartbeat: The presents! It’s no wonder us parents feel under pressure to deliver and buy the best we can for our precious offspring.
Presents for less
Any stressed parent aiming to avoid bankruptcy over Christmas needs to be resourceful and look for cheaper alternatives when it comes to gift buying. Forget the stigma of buying second-hand gifts, think of them as pre-loved – and congratulate yourself on recycling something that otherwise may have ended up being thrown away. Second-hand gifts make a great way of pleasing your child and saving money at the same time. Young children especially, won’t have a clue (and probably won’t care) if it’s new or not. Go to large, established websites such as For Sale to find a huge choice of classified adverts for millions of things, clearly arranged and set out in easy to navigate categories.
Other money saving options include flash sales, Black Friday deals, buying in bulk and shopping online. Impulse purchases are less likely when you shop online, you don’t have to pay for petrol or parking to shop, you avoid the crowds, and the choice is infinitely wider. Are you sold yet?
Feast for less
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the traditional feast of turkey and all the trimmings, but if you want to eat for less, consider the alternatives. Because everyone is so fixated on the idea of turkey, you can pick up cuts of other meat much cheaper over the festive season. Consider alternatives such as beef, duck, goose, lamb, Turkey crown or capon to grace the centre of the table, or go continental and sample a seafood platter. Vegetarian Christmas dinners are frugal but fabulous because the ingredients are cheaper. Serving dishes like a nut roast, vegetable tartlet or delicious fresh pasta will not only delight the palate but also cost you much less. Don’t throw money away by buying more food than you can eat. Check out the budget supermarkets who have really upped their game in recent years – filling a Christmas trolley up in a budget food store delivers serious savings on your festive budget.
Decorations for less
Get children involved in a creative art project of making Christmas decorations for the house. Banners and homemade paper chains, tree and table decorations made from recycled materials and cheap items such as card and paper can create a magical effect. A Christmas wonderland look doesn’t have to be expensive when you throw a little imagination and effort at it.
Coping with the cost of Christmas is all about forward planning, being resourceful, not bowing to peer or kid pressure and keeping a keen eye on those pennies. Christmas is over in a day; don’t end up paying for it all year. Make sure your happy Christmas includes enjoying shared time together as a family, after all, that’s the best gift of all.
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