With the cost of living CONSTANTLY increasing as we head into the Christmas season, you’re not alone in feeling like you’re having your Christmas spirit ripped out from underneath you. Us too. Christmas this year will be hard for many so here are some great ways to enjoy Christmas on a budget.
Christmas – it’s the most spendiest time of the year. But not this year, we’re having Christmas on a budget!
’tis the season to shake things up
If Christmas is going to look dramatically different for you this year and the thought of trying to recreate Christmases of the past is too much for you to mentally wear, THAT’S TOTALLY OK, your feelings are valid!
Instead, why not put your traditional Christmas in a snow dome and give it a good shake-up? Maybe pack a picnic and head to a park or beach for the day for something completely different? Or if friends will be alone on Christmas day, suggest a pooled BBQ at a playground. Pack some big rugs and cushions and settle in for the day for something special and fun.
10 tips for having Christmas on a budget
1. Festive spending: Set a budget and stick to it
Most people know that Christmas can turn into one big spend-fest if you’re not careful! For a Christmas on a budget – you obviously NEED to set a budget. This year break it right down and decide on an amount you can spend for ALL things Christmas, including things like food and drinks, gifts for immediate and extended family, decorating, and travel.
Put the money aside in a separate account and track your spending for each category so you know where every dollar is being spent. Don’t forget that Christmas is an excellent time to use your Flybuys and Everyday Rewards bonuses too!
2. Cap the Christmas gift-giving
Gift-giving can be really tricky! Talk to your extended family and pitch the idea of skipping adults and buying only for the kids. Agree on a spending limit for each gift so everyone is on the same financial page – you don’t need to spend big to show you care.
If cutting adults out of gift-giving causes some upset, perhaps turn adult giving into a fun game where you must buy gifts from an op-shop (you have fun AND you’re giving to a charity) and the worst present wins a prize. Or you could keep to a regular gift but do a Secret Santa set-up so you’re only buying for one adult (to an agreed amount).
3. Shop around and SAVE
There are savings to be found if you invest the time in looking for them! Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, stocktake sales and clearance racks. Look in discount stores such as The Reject Shop for regular grocery items at a fraction of the regular retail cost and don’t forget outlet shopping centres for bargains!
4. The more the merrier (just make sure they bring a plate)
One way to really cut costs is to not take on ALL the costs of hosting Christmas. If you’re having extended family or friends over for lunch, ask everyone to bring their favourite Christmas dish or a salad or dessert (such as this no-bake meringue wreath) – basically, bring anything to help contribute. A pot-luck-style Christmas would make for a memorable (and delicious) non-traditional lunch that you’ll talk about for years!
5. Plan your meals around leftovers, don’t waste a thing
Food is generally a BIG cost at Christmas time so it’s really important to keep food wastage to a minimum and eat leftovers instead of throwing them out. If you’re still going to lash out and buy a Christmas ham this year, make sure you use every last scrap of it for quiche, pizza and egg and ham rolls in the days following Christmas lunch!
6. Buy non-perishable items early
The earlier you start thinking about Christmas the better. It gives you more time to spread the cost out so you’re not burdened with the financial crunch all at once.
Start buying non-perishable items now (remember to check the use-by dates and snap up those specials) and store them in a cool, dry place (or freezer) until they’re needed. Foods you can buy in advance include Christmas puddings, crackers, pretzels, nuts, frozen meats, soft drinks, chocolates and more! Check out our week-by-week Festive Checklist for more ideas.
7. Shop second-hand and score a bargain
Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for bargains, particularly children’s toys that are quickly outgrown! There are dollhouses, bikes and trampolines galore to be found – and often at fantastic prices.
8. Decorate on the cheap
It’s an unpopular opinion, but you really don’t need new Christmas decorations every year. You can use decorations from years gone by or you can make your own decorations (snowflakes, paper chains, wreaths and more from paper, cards and inexpensive items. Very Nordic, very Pinterest, and very cheap!
9. Stay home
Regardless of if you’re driving an hour out of town or flying across the country, travelling costs a heck of a lot of money at the moment. Save on fuel, airfares and accommodation by having Christmas at home. That doesn’t mean you have to have Christmas by yourself, you can invite people to travel to YOU!
10. DIY as much as you can
There’s no shame in the DIY game! Personally, I love to bake for people who just don’t have the time (or the skills) to bake for themselves. Handmade gifts are always well-received gifts and people love the thought and care that has gone into such gifts.
11. Don’t forget to enjoy it!
Be proud to have an affordable Christmas! Sure, Christmas 2022 might look very different to your usual Christmas, but you can still enjoy it and make it special. Having Christmas on a budget might force you to put a different twist on your usual traditions – and who knows, they might be so good, they might stick for years to come!