Alexandra Cain Finance Writer
The decorations are up and the Christmas shopping is about to begin. It’s that time of year again and there are still lots of things you can do to make this Christmas a cost effective one, and still enjoy everything the festive season has to offer.
1. Start grocery shopping early
There is a lot that goes into Christmas dinner, bon bons, cranberry sauce, pudding – the list goes on. Leaving everything to the last mammoth shop can really stretch the household budget. So why not start buying non-perishable items now so you’re not faced with grocery bill shock on Christmas Eve?
2. Share the cooking
Another great way to save money over Christmas is to allocate different dishes to family members so you’re not left standing in front of a hot oven on Christmas day when it’s 40 degrees in the shade. Someone can make the salad, someone else can bring the pudding and another family member can bring the ham. That also means everyone has a chance to get involved and drastically cuts down on your food bill.
3. Be thrifty with presents
Your present shopping list doesn’t have to break the bank with a little thought. Why not make small gifts like cookies or jams to give to colleagues? And don’t feel you have to lavish the kids with a ridiculous number of gifts. Christmas isn’t a gift giving competition, so pick out one or two treasures for each child, but resist going overboard.
There are always Kris Kringle options – at least for the adults – so that you only end up buying one family member a present. Aside from keeping costs down it’s also a great way to cut down the time you spend present shopping. And don’t forget the internet is your friend for finding bargains and saving time traipsing around the shops at Christmas.
4. ‘Staycations’ the new vacations
Staying at home over Christmas is a great choice to save money. Often holiday rentals and hotels charge a premium over the Christmas period, so why not hold off having your holiday until peak season is over? If you do have to fly, you can get some great bargains if you choose to fly on Christmas day – thanks to time differences chances are it could still be Christmas wherever in the world you land.
5. Forget expensive wrapping paper
There are lots of lovely options for wrapping and gift cards that don’t have to cost the world. Butchers’ paper and twine look charming with some Christmas bush added for colour.
If you have little kids get them involved by having them paint some paper to be used as wrapping. It’s a more environmentally friendly option and gives the kids something to do in their holidays.
Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful with a little foresight and effort. The idea is to get organised and start early, so you’re not forced into paying over the odds for foods, presents and bits and pieces as the clock counts down to 25 December.