How to save money at Christmas

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Christmas is fantastic, isn’t it? A time for the good things in life – presents, great food and a get together with friends and family.

But the cost can become a real worry.

There are lots of ways to have a fabulous Christmas without breaking the budget though – you just have to get a little creative and organised. Here are nine top tips for a thrifty but fabulous Christmas.

Accept a helping hand

If you are invited anywhere for Christmas dinner, then accept the invite! Not only will it save you lots of planning and organising, but not needing to shop or cook will also save you lots of money! Take some homemade mince pies and a willingness to load the dishwasher and give yourself a break this year!

Do crackers differently

When it comes to crackers, do have a little think about the environment – don’t those little plastic things always end up in the bin? Why not either make your own or do without. They won’t be missed, and you will save some money in the process.

Cost-free entertainment

Lots of Christmas entertainment is free, so before you book the family into an eye wateringly expensive pantomime, check out what’s on locally cost free. A carol service, nativity play or the Christmas lights switch on bring all the festive fun for free

Homemade gifts

Making your own gifts shows creativity and care and, amidst the commercialism of Christmas, it makes a welcome and heartfelt difference.  From a homemade tin of shortbread to some bath bombs, candles or a photo album – homemade gifts really make people smile and can be a great way to keep costs down.

Do keep a list of who you are buying gifts for and tick them off once sorted. I have, on the odd occasions, bought more than required because I have forgotten what I had already bought - oops!

Don’t go overboard on the food shop!

Keep calm when it comes to food. Christmas Day is just one day, whilst Boxing Day was made for leftovers. The whole thing is pretty much done and dusted in a week. You really don’t need to buy enough food for a month! Make a meal plan, try to stick to it and remember that shops re-open just as soon as Christmas is done.

Show the leftovers some love

Talking of leftovers, having a few great leftover recipes up your sleeve is another great way to reduce costs and food waste at Christmas. From bubble and squeak to vegetable soup, there are just so many ways to use up your leftovers should you cook too much – which of course you inevitably do!  

Have a budget

Begin your Christmas with a budget for food, entertainment and gifting and try and keep a close eye on it. There is no need to spend more than you can afford. Christmas memories are made from togetherness rather than ‘stuff.’

Presence over presents

When it comes to the kids, they really do want your presence more than your presents. Try and make sure you aren’t so busy making everything perfect and shopping that you don’t have time to play. Baking gingerbread, playing monopoly and winter walks are the things about Christmas money just cannot buy.

Make new traditions

There seems to be something new to spend money on every year. It can be very easy to get sucked into thinking you need to buy £50 advent calendars, an elf on the shelf, Christmas Eve boxes filled with new PJs for everyone and even more gifts. You really don’t need to, and all that extra expense can really add up. New traditions are lovely but they can be inexpensive – think of baking, decorating the tree or going to see loved ones.

So, there you go - nine ways to save money at Christmas and still have a wonderful time. I hope they help you this festive season – Merry Christmas!