Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year, but it can also be the most expensive, with many of us shelling out big bucks for food, gifts, parties and entertainment. Unfortunately, things cost way more now than they used to, and we’re all feeling the pinch, so if you can shave a little off your Christmas expenses, why wouldn’t you?
These six tips will help you spend less this festive season without sacrificing any of the fun.
1. Organise a potluck
Instead of eating out at a restaurant or catering all the food for your Christmas gathering, get your guests to each bring a dish. Decide what dishes you’ll need and find out what each guest is able to provide. The food needn’t be expensive or fancy; get one person to bring appetisers like crackers, nuts and dips, another to bring the beverages, and the rest to bring the main dishes, sides and desserts. If you feel uncomfortable asking your guests to contribute food, ask them to bring their speciality dish or to make a batch of their famous cookies – they’ll be more than willing to whip up their favourite recipes for the other guests to try.
Here are more tips on how to save on your Christmas groceries.
2. Plan your gift list carefully
Who hasn’t purchased random gifts, only to later realise that you have no use for them? Streamline your shopping trip by making a gift list beforehand. Decide what to buy for everyone, research the prices online or at various stores, and then do one big shop. Shopping lists don’t just save you time; they can help you make fewer unplanned purchases and remind you of your shopping goals, thereby preventing you from overspending.
3. Set budgets for gifts and gatherings
Decide how much money you have or are willing to spend on presents and parties. To make sticking to these budgets easier, you can follow a few strategies. For one, shop in the weeks leading up to Christmas or during special sales, when you may be able to find items at discounted prices. Second, check out second-hand or antique stores, or even online marketplaces, for unique but affordable gifts. Third, combine budgets with other members of your household or a group of friends so that everyone saves.
Don’t forget to use your NS55 credits for your Christmas shopping!
4. Forget the fancy gift-wrapping paper
Christmas gift boxes, gift tags, ribbons and wrapping paper look pretty, but they can take a sizeable chunk out of your budget. Save money by keeping things simple, with just brown paper (or even newspaper), and add decorative touches like pleats or cool origami folds. You can even use old paper maps, unused envelopes or store paper bags to wrap your gifts. Alternatively, package them in scraps of colourful fabric or tea towels and top with affordable Christmas ornaments, dried leaves or flowers.
5. Give unique DIY gifts
If you’re on a super-tight budget, try making your own gifts. Handmade gifts are unique, charming and personal, and, depending on what you create, may end up costing you next to nothing. Some ideas include scented bath bombs or bath salts, handmade candles, framed photos, illustrations or prints, aromatherapy room spray made from distilled water and essential oils, and food like cookies, cake, and jars of pickles or other condiments.
6. Do a gift exchange or “Secret Santa”
If you can’t afford gifts for everyone you know, why not organise a “Secret Santa” gift exchange within your family or social circle? Randomly assign a giftee to every person in the group so that everyone only ends up buying one gift for their recipient. The identity of the gift giver has to remain a secret until the gifts are exchanged. This Western Christmas tradition ensures that each participant gives one gift and receives one gift.
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