Christmas is the time of year where we all go the extra mile to really push the gravy boat out. But, you don’t have to spend a fortune on festivities to have a cracking Christmas this year. Follow our top 8 money saving tips to enjoy Christmas on a budget.
1) Plan your spending
The very best way to make sure you have a budget Christmas is, well, to budget. Work out how much you can spend in advance and stick to it no matter what. Set an overall Christmas budget and then divvy it up between food, pressies and decorations. This way you’ll know how much you have to spend, and you won’t worry about going overboard and breaking the bank.
2) Use a little elfbow grease
Presents are one of the biggest costs of Christmas. so save a few gold coins by channelling your inner elf and making a few pressies yourself. The internet is a veritable Santa’s Sack of home-made present ideas, and here are a few of our faves.
Make your own chocolate slabs – melt cheap chocolate (white, milk, or dark) and pour in a silicone cake tin. Decorate excessively and set in the fridge to cool. Place in a cellophane bag and tie with ribbon.
Teacup candle – get a nice tea cup, melt old/cheap candle in a pan, use cotton twine for a wick and hold vertically in centre of teacup, pour in the wax and leave to set.
Lazy cookbook – buy a ringbinder and fill it with local takeaway menus, give to someone with a sense of humour.
Infused oil – pick your flavour, garlic, chilli, or herbs, place in a jar, pour over your oil (olive oil is popular), leave to infuse for a few days.
3) Book early
Whether it’s planes, trains, or hotels, you’re far more likely to find a better price if you book in advance. Do you really think St Nick waits till the last minute to book his round-the-world sleigh ride? Booking in advance can save you a bundle, and means yule have more options to choose from. Christmas is getting closer by the minute, so make sure you’ve booked early if you’re visiting family and friends. Here at Travelodge you can book up to 325 days in advance, so don’t let someone else snap up the best value rooms before you.
4) Find the lowest price for your pressies
Kids (and adults for that matter) often know exactly what they want for Christmas, and there’ll be tears galore if they don’t get it. Thankfully, there are plenty of comparison sites out there to help you find the best deal on your gifts. If you know what you’re buying, then get online to check out the competition. Google Shopping is a great place to start as it searches a range of online retailers from big to small so you can weigh up your options properly.
5) Track Santa’s progress
Ever since Santa Clause invested in GPS for his sleigh, you’ve been able to track his progress on Noradsanta.org. This is a great way to get the kids excited in the build up to Christmas, as they’ll be able to watch Santa doing his rounds on his way to your house. Saint Nick doesn’t kick off his festive duties until the 1st December.
6) Christmas dinner on a budget
So, we’ve followed tip number one and already set our budget for Christmas dinner – well done! Now it’s time to be smart with our budget. Here are some of the essentials for a low-cost Christmas dinner.
Compare your prices – get on MySupermarket.co.uk to find out which supermarket has the cheapest goods for you.
Don’t take shortcuts – pre-glazed carrots and ready made yorkies are often more expensive than doing your own, so get the family together for a bit of dinner prep and get those peelers out.
Go for a cheap cut – you don’t need a chateaubriand or plump roast goose to have a delicious Christmas dinner centrepiece, when cheap cuts like shanks, flanks, and shoulders are just as delicious and a fraction of the cost.
7) Do your own decorations
Just like with home-made presents, the internet is crammed full of ideas for home-made decorations, and here are some of the best.
Rosemary wreaths – tie sprigs of rosemary in circles and decorate to make miniature wreaths for table placeholders.
Citrus slices – chop lemons, oranges, and limes into 1 cm thick slices, and put in a low oven for 3-4 hours, once dried out you’ll have some gorgeous looking (and smelling) decorations to hang on the tree.
Sparkly baubles – chop up old cds into little bits (be careful of sharp edges) and glue shiny side up to baubles to give them an extra special sparkle this Christmas. As well as saving you money, getting crafty with your decorations is a great festive activity to do with the kids, and could you give you some cherished decorations to keep forever.
8) Get a message from Santa
These days Santa has gone digital, and he’s now doing personalised videos to all the kids out there, naughty or nice. Simply go to portablenorthpole.com and upload a photo of your child and their name, and you’ll get a personalised video from Santa that you can download and show to your little one. You can even choose whether to put your child on the naughty or nice list! This is a great way to sprinkle some Christmas magic without splashing the cash, and a guaranteed hit with kids of any age.