Despite what you might think, it is possible to have a fantastic Christmas without breaking the bank. Here are 5 ways to have a wonderful Christmas for less.
Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year for some, but when you’re struggling to get by, money worries can suck the fun out of the festivities. The average cost of Christmas in South Africa is on the rise despite the extremely high levels of household debt. Spending beyond your means at Christmas can leave you to foot the bill for the rest of the year and make it more difficult to service existing debts.
But despite what you might think, it is possible to have a fantastic Christmas without breaking the bank. All you need to do to is focus on the things that really matter, such as family and friends, and avoid spending money on those items you can really do without.
1. Agree on a spending limit and stick to it
Christmas might have become a capitalist extravaganza, but it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s your Christmas, so you make the rules. When it comes to buying gifts for grown-up family members, agree on a spending cap of R100 or R200. If you buy for your extended family then the cost can really add up. In some cases, at the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, it might make more sense to scrap those gifts entirely. Rather than buying gifts neither of you really want, agree to a present embargo so you can save your money for the things that really matter.
2. Be more imaginative with your gifts
The price does not maketh the gift. Having less money to spend means you have to put more thought and time into present buying, which can make for some really imaginative ideas. Here are some thrifty gift ideas courtesy of short-term lender Wonga. As a more general tip, it’s cheaper to buy online than it is on the high street, so that could be one way to make your money go further.
3. Have more fun with less
You might not think it’s possible to have too many presents, but when children have a never-ending conveyor belt of gifts they can fall into a malaise, with each present meaning less than the last. Instead, make more or fewer gifts by organising a treasure hunt involving lots of smaller presents. For example, according to this article, you can get a gymnastics mat for only $25. And who among your friends wouldn’t love to be, stay or get healthy? This makes the finding and opening as much fun as the gift itself and it helps to keep costs down.
4. Send e-cards
Rather than sending out hundreds of Christmas cards which only end up in someone’s bin, e-cards are a great way to save on the cost of cards, envelopes and stamps. There are hundreds of websites out there that allow you to send e-cards for a fraction of the price of the real thing. You can then send out just a handful of proper cards to your closest family and friends.
5. Make your travel arrangements early
If you’re planning to travel by plane, train or coach this Christmas then book your ticket as early as you can. The longer you leave it, the more the price will rise. If you’re going to drive, see if you have any friends or colleagues who need to travel in the same direction as sharing a trip is a great way to save money.
What are your top Christmas money saving tips? Please share your favourites with our readers in the comments below.