I LOVE Christmas! Having children makes it so exciting for the whole family. But having children does make it more expensive than it used to be! It’s not even December yet, but perhaps you feel over-stretched and extra stressed already! Here’s a few tips that have helped us to keep Christmas as frugal (and fun) as possible.
- Make a budget! I don’t just mean a rough figure in your head. I mean an actual list of things you need to buy and how much they cost. Write down how much you have already saved and how much more money you will earn between now and the time you need to finish your shopping. If you find that you “need” more stuff than you have the money for, there are going to have to be some reductions on the list. It’s easier to do this on paper, before you start shopping. There are a few things worth going in to debt for, but Christmas is not one of them. Dave Ramsey always says “a budget means telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went”.
- Consider homemade gifts. I know some of you will laugh at the thought of this, but many
homemade gifts are simple to make and can be really special gift, because you have to put time and effort into it. My only warning is to carefully work out how much the materials/supplies will cost for the homemade stuff, as sometimes it can mount up to more than you want to spend – again, BUDGET is key. Simple ideas for homemade gifts include,
- shortbread (only 3 or 4 ingredients), wrapped up in clear food bags, decorated with ribbon.
- knit or crochet something cute!
- offer ‘babysitting coupons’ which commit you to babysitting a certain amount of times, to people with children. This will be very well received by parents, certainly a lot more than another tin of biscuits!lol
- Homemade jam.
- A drawing done by your child, put in a frame for a relative. Older relatives especially will really appreciate this.
- Spread the burden of Christmas dinner among a large group. Lets face it – Christmas dinner is a very VERY expensive meal! The amount of meat and all the trimmings, not to mention to decorations, crackers, starters, desserts, drinks etc. It all mounts up. But if a large group of people are eating together it can really help to distribute the cost and workload between everyone.
- Be honest with family about the amount you are spending (or not spending) is a very wise idea. Maybe you have reached a stage where you feel it’s better to just buy for the children in the family, or just buy for the grandparents. Everyones situation is different, but I know it is impossible to keep buying gifts for everyone in a constantly expanding family! If you bring up the subject, you might find that others have been considering it too. It’s much better to have a conversation before the Christmas holidays, than to have hurt feelings and upset family on Christmas Day.
What other ways could we make Christmas Frugal without sacrificing all the wonderful parts of the Holiday? I would love to hear from you via comments below!