Wednesday, 16 September 2015

100 Days Until Christmas - Low Cost Christmas

It's 100 days until Christmas today! Christian's Against Poverty, a UK Charity that offers free debt help, are starting their debt free Christmas campaign today. I know Christmas starts earlier every year, and that the shops try to force seasonal spending on us for longer and longer periods. But thinking and planning ahead can save you a lot of money and stress, and today is a great time to start.

  1. Start Saving for Christmas - NOW

    With 100 days to go, if you get paid monthly you should have 3 pay days between now and Christmas. Set aside a little each month, and next year maybe start even earlier. Most big supermarkets offer schemes to save money if you shop with them every week in the run up to Christmas, so this could help, but switching to a more expensive supermarket to get this deal might actually cost you money, so be careful not to get dragged into spending more money on groceries than you normally would just to qualify.

  2. Set a Budget - STICK TO IT

    This can be hard, but decide how much you can afford to spend before you start planning what you buy. It can help if you write down what's most important to you about Christmas Celebrations. What would it not be Christmas without, and what is something you could maybe go without this year? Could you forgo the tree in favour of home made decorations? Or does no one in your house really like sprouts and turkey, and the family's favourite mexican food would be far more welcome? These ideas may sound odd, but Christmas isn't about doing everything everybody else does. Decide what's important to your family, and prioritise spending money on that, and don't spend money on the things that don't matter as much to you.

  3. Food

    Christmas is often a time of over indulgence when it comes to food, and I for one can see why! I love turkey, mulled wine, mince pies and pigs in blankets. I love socialising with friends over my favourite seasonal food. However, if you plan to go the whole hog with food, plan in advance how you will use the leftovers. Using leftovers in tasty meals will save money on normal grocery bills, and mean you can afford your seasonal favourites. Planning it before hand will also prevent you buying too much food that will just go to waste.
  4. Hand-make Gifts

    Crafters, take a deep breath, there's still 100 days to go! If you're going to make lots of hand made gifts you need to start early, as this is far more time consuming that just ordering from amazon. It can also be cheaper, and people are often very touched by homemade gifts. However, don't fall into the trap that handmade is always cheaper; we live in a world of mass production, and some things are far cheaper to buy. Other things, toys for example, are sometimes safer when bought, as they'll have been through stringent safety checks. Remember thoughtful is always more welcomed and remembered than big or expensive.

    I'll post some more blog posts in the coming weeks about giving thoughtful gifts.

    What are your top tips for a stress free, low cost Christmas?

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