Christmas can put an excessive amount of stress on a tightly managed household budget.
Some households have been found to take up to three years to settle their Christmas spending. A desire to make this time of the year super-special can push already stretched finances to breaking point.
Here are a few tips to help you manage the Cost of Christmas;
– Set an upper limit on gifts for adults. Or use a Secret Santa where everyone selects someone to purchase for, or a bran tub where there’s one gift per person, all ways to reduce fiscal pressure and cost of Christmas. Usually others are more than happy to agree.
– Give children adventures rather than gifts. Maybe commit to one special present per child, but then think of strategies to give your time and attention so you can do things together. Kids often cherish those shared experiences, especially if parents are usually busy working or doing chores. A day at the beach, the park, a nature trail, time spent fishing, doing crafts together, playing soccer are often experiences remembered long after all the expensive gifts have been outgrown.
– Source imaginative gifts at craft fairs and local markets, where there will be unique foodstuffs and fancy goods, often without a discernible price tag. A delicious food hamper, locally brewed beers, jewellery, paintings, fabrics are usually available for sale at artisan markets and are reasonably priced, so helping you to handle the expense of Christmas.
– Offer help rather than gifts. A voucher for a day’s babysitting, help with gardening or ironing, a gorgeous homemade cake, hair styling or a pamper session may be much appreciated. Any could be a lovely way to give the recipient some much-needed support.
– Source free amusement and manage the expense of Christmas. Carol services, concerts and country walks are often entertaining methods of passing a fun few hours and can provide welcome reasons to give everyone a break whilst getting some fresh air.
– Reduce Christmas food spending by preparing beforehand yummy staples such as casseroles, stews and pies. It’s often a treat to wrap up warm, enjoy a brisk walk and return to delicious homemade comfort food. Guests will appreciate those relaxed meals as a welcome change from lavish Christmas fare.
– Have you heard of safari suppers; each house provides one course, then moves on for another course, including everybody in the cost and effort. Christmas and post-Christmas can be occasions when arranging some cheap social time can be a welcome break, particularly if it’s neighborhood with no need to travel too far from home.
– Accept offers of help. If guests wish to bring wine, food or make their signature dish, take graciously and reduce your financial burden. Let’s contribute and feel that they’ve engaged in the day. It saves you money and time.
– Resist the temptation to continue spending. All too often we will see another’perfect’ gift or some’must-have’ tasty treat. Stop yourself from looking! Those things are often unnecessary, nobody will miss them and yet they can add significantly to the overall expense of Christmas. Stay with your master plan and avoid any additional temptations.
Christmas is about sharing time and food with loved ones, family and friends. It’s great to read that more Americans go home for Thanksgiving than for Christmas and no presents are exchanged at Thanksgiving. When we stay with the underlying message of Christmas we may have a special, loving time and not need three years to recover from the expense of it all!