As the festive season fast approaches, we can’t help but start to get a little stressed over the prospect of money. Despite its supposed sentiment of love and generosity, Christmas has become renowned for being the most expensive time of year. Yet this does not have to be the case. There are many ways to save the pennies whilst reaffirming the true values of this holiday.
First and foremost, get creative. Think outside the box and do as much yourself as possible as this is almost always the cheaper option. Homemade presents and gifts are a great way to show people how much you care simply by the time and effort you put in to making them. Edibles are easy to make in large batches that can then be individually wrapped and personalised. The same goes for cards. Be resourceful and look to the recycling box for scraps that can be turned into works of art. If you have children, get them involved and enjoy some family time whilst ticking off the jobs list.
Even wrapping paper is an unnecessary expenditure and we are often left with several rolls hiding somewhere in the loft each year. Use up every last bit you have and don’t worry about matching gifts. Brown paper and string can look more chic than any shop-bought alternative, especially if you get a couple of stamps or draw on your own designs.
If you are going to buy your gifts then plan ahead and shop online to get the discounts. Look around and compare prices too, rather than panic buying. Take time to source out special offers and coupons and consider cheaper alternatives wherever possible. Try your hand at bidding online – second hand is back in fashion. Charity shops are great too and you never know what gems you might stumble upon, plus your money goes to a good cause. They are particularly good for old box games and jigsaws to keep the family entertained.
Food is the one thing that people often go completely overboard with at Christmas, with so much ending up on the side of plates or left sitting in the fridge, uncooked. There is nothing wrong with only buying what you need and being frugal with portions to avoid waste. All it takes is a little planning. Note how many people you are feeding and how much food is required, rather than buying with a ‘just in case’ mentality. Remember what this dinner is all about. You can even ask each guest to contribute something: a tradition in many countries around the world and a great way to bring people together.
In all instances, be resourceful. Waste is a huge problem in today’s culture and for the most part completely avoidable. Children are often at their happiest turning cardboard boxes into spaceships and saucepans into drum kits. Take inspiration from this and remember what Christmas is all about.