How to Budget Around Christmas

A few tips on how to budget around the best time of year, Christmas.

Stacks of gold and silver coins dressed in Santa's hats

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. The colors, the carols, the decorations, the food and the presents have all been a part of Christmas for decades. But amidst all of the cheer and festivities, Christmas can be a nightmare to families who are on a budget or who don’t have much money.

Presents, food and decorations are always expensive, depending on what type you buy. But, there are some simpler ways to avoid overspending around the holiday season. Everyone can budget, even if it does seem like a daunting task.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

Food

  • When buying food or drinks, try to buy home brand as often as possible. You will find that home brand is cheaper than name brand and tastes exactly the same.
  • When purchasing alcohol, limit yourself a little and don’t buy more than you need to get through Christmas. Alcohol can be pricey but you can also get them for under $10.00 on the internet and in various local shops
  • When you go shopping for all of those Christmas goodies, write out a list and stick to it. You’ll find this way you won’t end up getting something you don’t need simply because it was an impulse buy.
  • When buying food, look around and compare prices. More often then not, you’ll find the same product at varying prices.
  • When buying soft drinks for the kids, the best to get are home brand from Cole’s or Woolworth’s. They have a great variety and all from eighty five cents and under.
  • In most Woolworth’s stores, they mark down the prices considerably after 6:00 p.m. If you shop around this time, you’re bound to get a bargain on items that usually would have cost more then you could afford.
  • Try to buy healthy food instead of unhealthy food. It can be cheaper and better for you. But Christmas is a time of celebrations, so don’t ban all sweets.

Decorations

Decorations are part of what makes Christmas great. Fairy lights, beautiful colors and all that other beautiful stuff can be a little costly, depending on what you buy.

If you want to decorate your house then I suggest the following things:

  • When buying decorations, only buy what you need. Buying something simply because you ‘may have a use for it’ is usually a waste of money
  • Re-using decorations from previous years is also a good idea and will help you to cut costs when it comes to purchasing new decorations.
  • Making your own decorations is also a good idea. If you have kids, paper, a pair of scissors and a tube of paint (around $2.00 at Go-Lo) then the options are endless. You’ll end up with some great decorations and it will keep the kids entertained for hours on end.
  • Buy decorations from your local Go-Lo. Trust me when I say this, they have great decorations at great prices, most of which are under $2.00.
  • Decorations can be made from recycled products in your home. Cardboard boxes, plastic containers, old soft drink bottles, paper and aluminum cans are all great when it comes to making your own decorations. You get cheap decorations and you’re doing something for the environment. Good news all round!
  • You can buy cheap fairy lights and absolutely beautiful decorations for Christmas at Go-Lo. The people there lower their prices just before Christmas because they know how much Christmas can cost. Such good people!

Presents

Now we come to the hardest part. The worst part of budgeting at Christmas is buying presents. And if you have a big family, then it’s going to cost a bundle. But there are ways to save money even when buying for a large family:

  • Presents don’t have to be big to show someone that you care. Something simple can be all it takes to show someone how much you love them. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?
  • You can find simple and inexpensive gifts on the internet or at Go-Lo if you spend some time looking. Some people are happy with the simplest of objects.
  • Remember, don’t overbuy for Christmas. Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together and have fun. It’s not about the money, it’s about being with those who love and want you.
  • Some of the best gifts are homemade. If you can knit, sew, use a hammer or bake then you’ve got a lot of options. Even a child as young as eight can use a hammer and turn a piece of wood into something for their parents or family. Trust me when I say this
  • Compared to others, if you have a roof over your head, food on the table and a loving family, then you are indeed lucky. Your love means so much to people who care about you.

Here is a great idea for a homemade Christmas present:

You’ll need:

  • A small box
  • Pretty wrapping paper
  • Glue
  • A small piece of cardboard or paper
  • An hour or so
  • A ribbon
  • A flower such as a rose (optional)

What to Do

  1. Take the small box and paint over the outside and the lid in a thin layer of glue
  2. Wrap the outside in the wrapping paper. Do the lid as well (But only the outside)
  3. Smooth down the paper and rid it of any bumps or lumps.
  4. Grab the small piece of cardboard/paper and write the following message on it

    My Love to You

    This is a very special gift
    That you can never see
    The reason it’s so special is
    It’s just for you from me
    Whenever you are lonely
    Or even feeling blue
    You only have to hold this gift
    And know I think of you
    You can never unwrap it
    Please leave the ribbon tied
    Just hold the box close to your heart
    It’s filled with love inside.

  5. Tie the card to the box using the ribbon by placing the card on top of the lid and wrap the ribbon around it, securing both the lid and the card in place Now you have a lovely gift to give to a friend or a parent or maybe even a favorite aunt or uncle!

When Christmas comes around this year just remember that it’s all about having fun! You don’t have to spend big to have a first class Christmas, believe me. Often you’ll find that spending time with your family is worth more then are amount of wealth. Family is more important then money. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it always will be. Don’t use the excuse “We haven’t got much money because it’s Christmas” You really needn’t spend big just because it’s the holiday season!

But for now my friends, Thanks for reading and have fun! I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas and a great new year, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good night!