Planning for Christmas On a Budget
Halloween has now officially passed and already we are over a week into November making it currently only 6 weeks until Chrismas (scary right?). So, it makes complete sense that our focuses are now being turned by retailers towards all things Christmas.
However for many people the Christmas period doesn't always invoke the pure excitement that it does for others and this can often come down to the financial constraints involved that can of course be very overwhelming especially at this time of year.
As someone who is an obsessive planner and naturally frugal I thought that some of my tips would be of benefit to those of you who would like to feel a bit more in control this season.
Very often when it comes to buying gifts for family members and friends, we become inundated by the struggle of finding the perfect gifts for everyone we love especially if there's a lot of people to get gifts for. This lack of planning can easily result in panic buying as we edge closer to Christmas and overspending which of course isn't going to do your purse or stress levels any good.
To avoid such a situation I recommend the following ideas:
- Lists: writing a list whether it be digital or good old pen and paper (just make sure you don't put it ''somewhere safe'' A.K.A the realm of things never to be seen again). I know it sounds like such a simple and obvious thing to do, and it is, which is why it works so well. Write down a list of everyone who you need to purchase gifts for and budgets for each.
- The Little Things: It's always drill into us that it's the little things in life that are most important and though it may seem cliche, I really have to agree with that old saying. Giving gifts over the years has for a lot of people turned into a financial competition which is what large conglomerates feed off of, and that's not what Christmas is supposed to be about. Show someone you care about them by giving them a gift that holds more meaning than generic, overpriced items that they won't appreciate nearly as much.
- Shop Around: Once you have an idea in your head about the kind of gift you're looking for, make sure to shop around in order to get the best deal. Different retailers can offer the EXACT same item for drastically different prices so always do your research before you buy. This also goes for collecting coupons and making use of any deals that stores have on offer.
- Talents?: If you have and talents for example; art, music, crafts etc. then why not use your abilities to create something entirely personal that your recipient will adore as well as allowing you to stay completely within your budget.
- Charity Shops: Charity shops can be amazing places for finding unique gifts and for the most part items tend to be brand new in original packaging but of course much cheaper than RRP, plus your money is going towards helping others which screams Christmas spirit to me.
Leading on from gift giving, it's also important to set yourself attainable goals when it comes to getting organised for Christmas to ensure your stress levels are at a minimum.
Keeping small daily targets such as picking up cards and wrapping paper one day and Christmas crackers and non-perishables on another will help to cut your to-do list down considerably and without you having to think too much about it and as a bonus, at the end of each day when you can check off another item you'll feel so much more accomplished and you'll be able to avoid the last minute Christmas supermarket frenzies.
If possible, starting your Christmas preparations early really helps to relieve the strains of the festive period and leaves the run up to the holiday free for you to relax and enjoy yourselves. This can also help keep costs down as many retailers are known to raise prices closer to Christmas time.
Christmas decorations can be really expensive, depending on where you shop of course but they really don't have to be. There are plenty of great decorations available in Poundland, B&M and eBay that will make your home look and feel just as festive.
Also, if you feel really creative and have children you can also make some amazing memories with them by creating your own Christmas decorations that make for lovely keepsakes.
If you are hosting Christmas dinner you probably feel the need to do ''the big shop'' but if you can avoid it, you definitely should. It's hectic and very often you'll come out with things you don't need and without the things you actually went in for...
If the big shop is essential then put a little bit of money a side every week until it's time which should make it a little easier. Alternatively and preferably you can buy in your food little by little each week and for much cheaper if you are able to visit different stores like Aldi, Lidl, Farmfoods etc that offer the same quality at a much more affordable cost.
I think it's important to remind ourselves in this ever-growing materialistic world that Christmas is not and never has been about money, presents or an abundance of food, so try not to get hung up on what you feel is expected of you by others and focus more on making amazing memories with those you love.
I hope that these tips help you in your steps to organising Christmas this year and if you have any of your own ideas I would love for you to share them in the comments section below for myself and others to read.
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