Try saying that ten times as fast as you can! It’s almost as hard as saving money at Christmas time. I guess it’s called the silly season for a reason. Right?
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Christmas! I love the decorations, the carols, the food, the family time, the fun, the presents… And that’s why there’s something within me that profusely objects to it being referred to as the ‘silly’ season. To me, it’s the opposite: it’s special, significant, satisfying.
But I understand where the silly comes from. It’s so easy to spend, spend, spend. So here’s some ideas I’m trying to implement this year to help me save, not spend! I know there are some people who thrive on buying presents for everyone and don’t need to budget; if that’s you, perhaps stop reading now! But for those who are looking at ways to reduce spending yet still experience the joy of giving, read on!
Decide on the gifts to buy before you go shopping
Shop the catalogues first. Find specific presents for each person. Then you can go straight to each shop to buy intended gifts. That way, you don’t overspend, waste time or come home empty handed.
Set limits and stick to them
Decide before you go shopping exactly how much you will spend on each person you are buying for. Be strict on yourself and stick to the limits you set!
Keep a list of stocking fillers
If you find yourself buying random things here and there for stocking fillers (like me), try writing a list before you buy more so that you can see what you already have and whether or not you need extras.
Both my husband and I have a number of siblings so we find it works well for each of us to buy a present for one other person. In my family, all individual adults put their names in a hat and pull out one name to buy for. In hubby’s family, each couple buys for one other couple. The same applies for all our children: one child buys for one other child so that all cousins receive one present.
We then also have extended-extended family including my parent’s generation. To these gatherings, we all bring along one wrapped present worth $10. They all go in the middle for the Secret Santa game, where each person takes it in turns to choose and unwrap one present. If someone else likes their present they can choose to steal it instead of picking from the centre pile. If a person’s present is stolen, they choose again, either from the centre pile or by stealing off someone else. Game is over when all presents have been unwrapped. This makes gift-giving in the larger family context lots of fun and cheap at the same time!
Plan a set menu for Christmas Day, including nibblies, drinks, entrees, lunch, dinner, dessert, paper plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, bon bons, etc. Allocate items to yourself, family members and guests to ensure everything is covered. This may help to prevent overspending and wastage, as well as take some pressure off whoever is hosting.
Try organizing a Christmas where only handmade gifts are allowed. This may involve sewing, whittling, building, baking, painting… let your imagination go wild! Just make sure you give everyone plenty of notice!
Give to the truly needy
There are plenty of organisations you can donate to in aid of children, families and villages in third world countries. You receive a gift card to give as a gift to someone, explaining where their gift was sent. For example, you can buy eye operations, goats, chickens, fresh water wells, health checks, vaccinations, safe birthing programs, adult literacy, mosquito nets, plus more. Check out these links if you’re interested: