Disclosure – this is a collaborative post
As much as I love Christmas it is the most expensive time of year. We all want to give our children the best gifts and memories but it can be hard to stay within budget if their Christmas lists are a little ambitious! My children seem to want the moon on a stick each year and whilst I would love to buy them everything they want it’s just not possible or healthy for them. We try to live to the 4 gifting principles to keep their expectations manageable – something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need.
Over the last 10 years of being a parent I like to think I have learned some important tips and tricks which are worth sharing while trying not to break our budget this Christmas. Hopefully you will find our tips helpful although if you need advice on debt management plans you are able to find the right advice for you.
How to not break your budget this Christmas
My children’s ideas seem to get crazier and crazier every year. Much as I want Christmas to be a special time I don’t think that it should only be about how much their presents cost. We decide on our budget for presents for the children, presents for family, special days out visiting Father Christmas and food over the Christmas period. It’s surprising how quickly everything adds up but setting a budget definitely helps. We use savings to pay for these kind of big expenses, and anything else (such as advent calendars and smaller things) come out of our monthly wages.
Shop early. The first Christmas I spent with my then boyfriend, now husband, we were so excited to have Christmas together. One night a few weeks before Christmas we went shopping on Oxford Street to buy Christmas decorations. Most of the shops had sold out of decorations and we were left with the real dregs that no-one else wanted. We still have those decorations but they are always left at the bottom of the box as not even the children want to use them! The next year we bought our decorations (and everything else) early so we got the pick of the bunch. It taught me a lesson that it’s never too early to start planning and shopping.
The arrival of Black Friday has meant you can get a bargain earlier than ever before. This year I’ve noticed lots of emails offering me all kinds of deals throughout the month of November. We’ve already bought the children the Fitbits they wanted for Christmas thanks to a great deal we found online. I’ve noticed that prices have been slashed in the shops as well as online.
We’re huge fans of giving handmade gifts at Christmas. It’s not for everyone but our family know that we will be making some of our own gifts. I’ve shared some easy tutorials for making handmade gifts which include a handmade tissue holder, gingerbread sugar scrub cubes, peppermint oreo bark or even lego men soap. Since I got my Cricut Maker I’ve been making even more ambitious gifts which I can’t wait to show when the recipients have opened them.
It can feel a little awkward but it’s important to agree a budget with family members. Perhaps only buy for children, or get a gift for the whole family to enjoy and share.
If you use any store loyalty points then it’s a good idea to save up your points and spend them at this time of year. I have a Boots Advantage card and a Sainsbury’s Nectar card. These are the stores I regularly shop in and it always surprises me how quickly I can collect points. Tempting as it is to spend them, I can use them towards buying gifts sets and treats in store which really helps with my Christmas shopping.
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to not break your budget this Christmas. I would love to hear how you budget for Christmas.