Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There is a lot of pressure and expectation to spend a fortune on Christmas with everything from decorations to presents. The fact is that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to have a great Christmas. This may be easy for me to say as I still live at home so I don’t have to pay rent, bills or food. However, buying presents alone can be stressful. I see that I’ve only bought someone 2/3 presents and I think it’s not enough, even though the 2/3 presents might be expensive. I need to remember that it’s quality not quantity that matters, although I do with I could afford to buy more presents.
You don’t need to buy any more food than is necessary for a ‘normal day. By all means treat yourself to a Christmas dinner but you don’t need to go crazy and end up with loads of leftovers. My family has a Sunday Roast every week and we just have the same amount for Christmas dinner plus a few extras (pigs in blankets yum). If you’re only cooking a meal for 1 or 2, don’t buy enough food to feed the whole street. The same applies for buying essentials such as bread and milk. You don’t need to go crazy and stock up. Shops will still be open over the Christmas period (perhaps not on Christmas Day) so you don’t need to go crazy and raid the supermarket.
You don’t need new decorations each year. Christmas decorations aren’t exactly cheap (unless you did what I did and get them from Poundland). You don’t need to go out and buy a whole new set each year, but if you want new decorations buy them after Christmas when they’ll probably be cheaper with shops trying to sell off the rest of their stock.
You don’t need to buy loads of presents for people. Yes presents are nice to open, however the cost of them doesn’t really matter. Only spend as much as you can afford, it’s not worth getting yourself into debt. Set out a budget for presents (separate from a food budget) and make sure you stick to it as best as you can. You don’t want to still be paying for this Christmas in months to come.
Only buy for close family and friends. You don’t need to buy expensive presents for every single member of your family. If you’re close with them fair enough, but don’t just send presents for the sake of sending them. I only really buy presents for my parents and my brother and his family. Limiting myself to 5 people allows me to budget for each person and buy presents accordingly.
Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to conform and spend money when you don’t have it. You can still enjoy Christmas on a budget. All you really need to have a good Christmas is a roof over your head, family/friends to spend the day with, a warm heart and a smile. Everything else you give or receive is a bonus. Don’t let Christmas stress you out, make sure you do Christmas on your own terms that match your budget.