Yes, it’s come round again ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ (or the most expensive at least!). With preparations in full swing as we are just about to enter December, here are some top tips on how to enjoy the festive season without paying for it the rest of the year.
When you think of Christmas, this is probably the first thing you think about. Forgetting the controversy about how commercialised Christmas has become, there are a few things you can do to dish out those gifts whilst still saving the pennies.
- Make something
Okay, so you probably think that this option was no longer viable once you reached the age of 10, but there are plenty of things that you can make from scratch, that while more heartfelt than shop-bought gifts, are still not tacky. From blankets and scarves, to cakes and even your own Christmas cards! Who knows you might even enjoy being creative, and it sure looks a lot more thoughtful than one of those 3 for 2 baths sets from Boots!
- Secret Santa- it
If you’re one of those lucky people with hundreds of Facebook friends, all of whom are expecting a present this year- why not suggest a secret santa? Each person will get a much more thoughtful gift (rather than 16 boxes of chocolates!) and it will also protect your bank account!
- Buy in bulk
For those generic gifts that you are obliged to buy; be it for co-workers or your children’s friends, take advantage of the supermarket offers! I would even suggest stocking up on a few more than you need- just to avoid those embarrassing moments where you have to rush out last minute for someone that you had forgotten.
Food is the other thing we tend to starve our bank accounts for over the holiday season. You have to remember that food really isn’t the point of Christmas, and to be honest by the time your guests have had five mince pies, I highly doubt they’re going to notice if your stuffing came from Waitrose or Aldi!
- Go to cheaper supermarkets
There seems to be an unreasonable prejudice against the likes of Aldi and Lidl, their food thought to be cheap and therefore unpleasant. It’s not true! Shopping at one of the cheaper supermarkets is guaranteed to massively reduce the cost of your Christmas feast and the difference in taste will be barely noticeable- if at all!
- Say yes to offers
If your family expect you to produce a Christmas feast fit for 18 adults, 13 hungry children and the occasional baby- the least they can do is offer to provide a couple of the condiments. Do not be ashamed to agree- as well as saving money, this will save you valuable time on the day itself.
- Treat yourself
Christmas is a special day after all, and it does only happen once a year, so after having bought all your essentials in Lidl, why not take a trip to M&S and buy those melt-in-the-mouth mince pies or extra crunchy roast potatoes.
The last major expense of the festive weeks goes into looking pretty for all the parties you must attend. People often feel the necessity to purchase several new outfits each year for this occasion, especially if they’ve eaten one too many chocolates and their usual party outfits are feeling a bit tight!
It is definitely not essential to have a new dress every New Year’s Eve, let’s be honest the number of Champagne glasses the other guests manage to down is a sure guarantee that they won’t remember what you were wearing last year anyway! Perhaps style your make-up or hair differently if you’re that worried about someone recognising your look from last year.
- Cheaper Shops
If you do insist on a new outfit, it does not necessarily have to include the latest designer handbag or heels. New Look, Forever 21 and River Island are all cheaper shops that do a fantastic range of festive clothing- and I promise you, no one will be able to tell the difference between one tiny black dress and another tiny black dress!
There we go, this is my guide to keeping those piggy banks full (or reasonably so anyway!) over the coming few weeks. As an incentive, remember any money that you save, might come in useful during the January Sales!