It’s often described as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but Christmas can also be expensive. With an abundance of parties, presents, decorations and food, the cost of Christmas can quickly add up.
It’s not too late to save some pennies though – here’s our guide to some last-minute festive budget busters.
Sometimes kids can write what feels like a never-ending list of all the things they’d like for Christmas, and as much as we want to see their faces light up when opening their gifts, it doesn’t mean we have to buy them all.
Adding things like school lunch boxes and water bottles as stocking fillers, or winter warmers such as hats, gloves and scarves can really help, or ask grandparents or other close relatives to include them as part of their Christmas gifts. It’s ok to include things they need along with gifts they want!
If your kids are sporty, a new pair of football boots, a hockey stick or swimming goggles could form part of their presents, depending on their chosen sport.
If you’ve got lots of people to buy for, many shops do special gift offers at Christmas. Boots is famous for its mix and match ‘3 for 2’ on small gifts. Or try discount stores like TK Maxx, Home Sense, Home Bargains and B&M where they have all sorts of stocking fillers for less. From smellies to slippers, foodie gifts and presents for pets, you can be sure to find gifts that won’t break your budget.
If you have loyalty cards for shops, check your balance as you might have enough points to buy gifts with them – it’s like getting stuff for free but without feeling like a Scrooge.
It can be so tempting to get new decorations every year and change your colour scheme. We suddenly become like magpies and are dazzled by sparkly, shiny things – anything to take away from the cold and dark. It makes us feel better to bring a little extra brightness to the home.
Instead of replacing your entire scheme, you could swap out some older decorations, or just buy a couple of special ones each year.
If you want to add something a little extra, try making popcorn tinsel and paper snowflakes – all activities in which your kids can get involved, and which don’t cost the earth.
Christmas crackers can be expensive but again by looking at budget shops, you can buy them for a fraction of the price.
There are some great ways to save money on Christmas food. While you might not want to scrimp on your centrepiece, be it turkey, beef or ham (if you’re meat eaters) you can make savings on some of the extras.
Pre-prepared vegetables are convenient, but they’re also costly. Most supermarkets have ‘wonky’ ranges now, and you can get bags of vegetables at a fraction of the cost of pre-prepared veg. Christmas dinner staples like potatoes, parsnips and red cabbage are all in season so will be reasonably priced, and again many supermarkets will often do ‘3 for 2’ on Christmas vegetables.
If you’re willing to risk it and can face the supermarket really close to the big day, there’ll probably be some heavily discounted items before they close for Christmas Day (many stores will also be closed on Boxing Day this year too).
If you’re catering for a big group of people over Christmas, ask some of your guests to bring a course with them to help spread the cost. They could bring a starter or dessert such as the traditional Christmas pudding or trifle, or even a cheese selection for everyone to enjoy.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself – at the end of the day it’s about spending time with family and friends, not how much you spend on the event itself.