How to save money at Christmas is a challenge for many families. Parents want to do their very best by their children. Many of us have other family members and friends we like to treat. You may be in the habit of also putting your hand in your pocket at Christmas for colleagues, neighbours and people who provide you with a service throughout the year. It can get very expensive at which point quick loans might be something you think about or perhaps making money from unwanted Christmas gifts from last year.Here are some of my top tips on how to save money at Christmas.
Presence not presents
I have never forgotten sitting in a York café in the days before Christmas. I was there because I was a lonely stay-at-home mum. I met an elderly lady who I was delighted to talk to. It was so sad to hear that she had brought up two sons who had their own families but would not be seeing her over Christmas. She was so hurt and I wished there was a way I could wave a magic wand and make it better for her. Presents are lovely to receive but you make memories that last a lifetime by being together. So give the gift of your presence this festive season.
How to save money at Christmas when travelling
Firstly, decide if you want to go to all the places and events you have invitations to. Then plan in advance and as early as possible. That way you will make the most of any Early Bird travel offers, If you have children, read online about how to cut the costs of car and other journeys. Refreshments and entertainment can cost a small fortune so learn from other parents how to do it the more affordable way. Check the weather forecast too as getting caught up in adverse weather conditions is dangerous and often costly too.
Second-hand is good enough
I have no shame in saying I have bought second-hand presents on countless occasions. I am a charity shop fan anyway loving to browse such a diverse array of books, fashions and bric-a-brac particularly at Marie Curie outlets. During the festive season it is lovely to think of someone getting rid of their trash and it becoming treasure for someone you care about. Even better, the charity is raising money for those in need. You can also look out for Christmas fairs, jumble sales and car boot sales. Pop online and you can grab a bargain on Ebay or check out freebie sites.
Imperfect is great
Aiming for perfection is ultimately futile. Things can and do go wrong. That’s life and trying to fight that fact only leads to stress and heartache. When I look back on my life, it is often when things appeared to go wrong that we had our biggest laughs. If you try to be the ultimate domestic goddess and the ideal Christmas host, as well as getting tired and not enjoying your festive season, you will also spend money that you don’t necessarily have. That way madness lies – do it your way with the resources you have available such as your humour and your kind heart.
How to save money at Christmas the old-fashioned way
Think back to what made your childhood Christmas magical. Bring out retro board games from the attic. I once had a set of young guests highly entertained at a birthday party by using simple games of yesteryear like putting hands in boxes and trying go guess what they could feel. When was the last time you played Musical Chairs? Bake your own food perhaps asking older relatives for recipes that you can try out with your children. Get into crafting and give a home-made present this year. These always mean so very much as time, effort and love come in these packages.
Ultimately, how to save money at Christmas is as simple as not putting yourself under any pressure, being realistic and getting creative.
What are you top tips on how to save money at Christmas?