Christmas can be a wonderful time, a time to see family and friends, share laughs, exchange gifts, and eat way too much. But, when you’re struggling with finances (as a lot of people are at the moment), the holiday season can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
The thing is we somehow think that not being able to spend lavishly means the essence of Christmas will somehow be diminished. But, that’s just not the case.
I know you don’t want your loved ones to think that you’re a scrooge or cheap but there’s a huge distinction between being on a budget and being cheap.
So, if you’re looking for ways to do Christmas on a budget, any budget, then these tips will help you out.
How to do Christmas on a budget when money is really tight
Christmas on a small budget is not about cutting down on one thing, it’s about the whole package. You’ll have to cut some expenses here, some there, or possibly everywhere.
Sit down with your family, and figure out some fun yet cheap ways to relax and enjoy the holidays together. This doesn’t mean you have to be super cheap. You just need to make some adjustments according to your preferences so that you remain within your budget.
Save on food
Food can easily become a budget buster during holidays. So, budgeting for food during the holiday season requires careful planning.
Here are a few tips for same –
- Meal planning – Plan out what meals you’ll prepare during the festive season before it begins.
- Purchase early – Buy non-perishable goods earlier especially if you see them on special offer as the price during the holiday season will usually be on the higher side.
- Save on ingredient costs – Replace the costlier ingredients in your dishes with cheaper options.
- Cut the sides and extras – Keep it simple. One or two sides or snacks will do just fine.
- Adjust menus – Trim the extras. There’s no need for full three-course meals.
- Cook from scratch – Packaged, and pre-prepared food is usually costlier and can push your budget up.
Cut down gifting expenses
It is nice to buy presents for everyone during the holiday season. But, when you’re on a strict budget it is essential to reduce your gift expense.
Here’s how you can do that –
- Reduce the number of people you buy presents for or if you can’t do that, buy cheaper gifts. Maybe consider trying the ‘4 Gift Rule‘
- Shop second-hand items from thrift stores and yard sales.
- Consider making small gifts yourself. Handmade ornaments, family frames, decorative savings jars, etc. are a few good options.
- Don’t wait for Black Friday to shop for Christmas gifts. Look for the sales all year long to get the best deals.
- Don’t be a part of random gift exchanges at your work, book club, or any other social group. Be kind and refuse politely.
- Re-gift a present that isn’t useful to you to someone else.
Change your focus
Your focus during holidays shouldn’t be on giving and receiving gifts or decorating your house luxuriously. Christmas is all about being with your family and cherishing the time together, no matter what.
Instead of running behind material happiness, find some fun free activities that you can do together as a family.
Here are some ideas –
- Drive around your city to see the Christmas light.
- Attend the Christmas parade in your city.
- Bake your own Christmas treats together as a family
- Volunteer at a food bank, perform a Christmas program for a nursing home, or provide some other assistance to the community
That’s all from my side. Hopefully, It’s given you some idea on how to do Christmas on a budget without feeling like a scrooge.
Got any other tips or suggestions? Feel free to drop your views in the comments. I’d love to read them.