Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas Money Saving Tips: Don't Break The Bank This Christmas

Chatting amongst friends and family its struck me recently just how worried people are about the cost of Christmas this year. Times have never been tougher as redundancies have hit, tax credits reduced and the cost of living has soared.
So this is my public information announcement to kick off the week where most of us will be doing the lions share of our Christmas shopping.
"Don't Break The Bank This Christmas"

Enjoy Christmas but don't overspend
I understand the pressure to buy the very latest toys for your kids, the worry of  not looking cheep to your friends and the desire to thank your loved ones for all their help and support with the purchase of a wonderful gift but (and this is a big but) overspending now will create such a huge amount of anxiety in the new year. None of us know what 2014 will bring so lets all take a collective deep breath and remember the following:
Betty's Guide For a Great Christmas and a worry free 2014

  • If you really rack your brains can you genuinely remember what everyone brought you for Christmas last year? or is it the thoughtful gifts which stand out. The jewel coloured gloves which are still keeping your hands warm, the coin purse with the swallow design which means you never fumble for change. Someone remembering that you love the smell of roses and buying you a bottle of rose bath essence is enough. These are tough times, don't feel the need to buy three other things as well.Leave super sizing to fast food chains. Small is beautiful.
Its the thought, not the cost that counts

  •  A pack of beautifully scented joss sticks with some home made fudge will cost about a fiver and be just as welcome as something which will make you go into your overdraft.Its cool to give home made. Use this trend to your advantage and you wont be crying over your bank statement in January.
Here is one I made earlier
  • Spending a fortune on wrapping is silly. Rolls of tissue paper are inexpensive and make your gifts look lovely or use brown paper and string for a vintage inspired old fashioned look which wont cost a fortune.Step away from Paperchase.
Keep wrapping simple. It will only end up in the bin.
  • If you have friends or family members who are always particularly lavish in their gift choices don't feel the need to reciprocate. Chances are they are well across your financial circumstances and simply enjoy being able to spoil you. If it makes you uncomfortable tell them that you are buying everyone a small gift this year and donating a small amount to charity and perhaps ask if they  would like to do the same. Less stuff being brought which will end in a landfill, some help for the needy and you don't have that horrible moment where you give them a jar of chutney and they give you a bottle of Channel No5. Result!

So a strict £5 per gift limit-Agreed yes and lets stop dressing the same as well. its creepy

  • Being thrifty with your children's gifts is probably the hardest challenge of all. Kids are bombarded with adverts showing them an array of wonderful things and expect them all. Rather than buying them five or six big gifts which seems to be increasingly the norm, liaise with their relatives so they get a few of the things on their most wanted list and get them one "big" gift and some other small things. Tinkerbell bubble bath from the pound store, a funny book from a charity shop,its really about the excitement of the pile of gifts under the tree rather than it all being this seasons latest toy. Its hard to manage expectations and the days of an orange and a sixpence are well and truly over but not getting into huge debt is much better parenting than buying them £200 worth of plastic which will be mashed in the bottom of a toy box two months down the line.

So the little girl didn't get the pink Nintendo DS and the house wasn't reposesed. the end

  • Don't feel the need to spend a Kings ransom on food over the festive period. Christmas dinner is really just a glorified Sunday roast. Treat it as such and you will buy a lot less.

Do I really need three kinds of meat, four sauces and seven vegetable's for one meal?

Sure buy a few extras but the glut of food we all buy is usually far too excessive and often gets binned. Think about what you will really eat, plan your meals and snacks and you wont find yourself buying nuts, tins of biscuits and six types of cheeses which will all get left.

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly will know that I love Christmas and beautiful things. A less bah humbug lady you will find but I want us all to have a brilliant Christmas which doesn't lead to a horrible cash strapped New year.

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