Helpful Advice to Budget for Christmas This Year

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Christmas is often an expensive holiday, and in 2020 many people might find that they're on a tighter budget than usual. Even if you set aside money for Christmas across the year, you might have had to dip into your savings for other things. Christmas isn't cancelled this year, even if it might look slightly different, but you might still be looking for smart ways to budget. Maybe you have less to spend this year, and you need to make the most of what you have. Use this guide to make sure Christmas is just as magical as always while sticking to a budget.

Save By Not Traveling

Traveling to see family for Christmas is probably not the best idea this year. If you're staying in place to help your family be safe, it might be a little disappointing not to see extended family and friends, but you can still enjoy Christmas. It also offers the benefit of helping you to save money. What you otherwise have spent on fuel or a bus or plane ticket? You can now use that money for something else. You might have managed to save in other ways this year too. Perhaps you've saved by working from home or not going out as much.

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Let Go of the Idea of a Perfect Christmas

You might have an idea in your head of what Christmas should look like. But planning a Christmas that you can afford is more important if you don't want to risk stretching yourself financially. Only spending what you can afford doesn't have to mean Christmas loses its spark. It's important to work out what you can afford to spend and consider which elements of Christmas you're willing to look at differently. Christmas doesn't have to be all about materialism and gifts. Even if you do give gifts, they don't need to be big or expensive.

Sell and Swap

The thing about Christmas gifts (and gifts for other occasions) is that they can stop being interesting after a while. If you have anything from previous years that you're no longer using, you could consider selling a few things. You might have some toys that your children don't play with anymore or clothes they've grown out of. By selling these items, you can put a little more cash in your pocket. Another idea is to swap the things you have for other gifts. Second-hand gifts can be just as good as new, especially if they're in good condition, and you wrap it up well.

Do DIY Gifts

Whether you're a crafty person or not, making your own gifts can be a great way to save money. If you have a few crafty skills, that's great, and you can make some cool gifts to give to friends and family. However, even if you're not great with arts and crafts, you can easily put together some unique gifts. For example, you can create gift hampers simply by putting a few treats into a box or basket that you think your giftee will like. Some DIY gifts are super easy to make too, especially if you're just customizing something. No clever craft skills are needed for things like tying a ribbon around a candle, which can immediately make it look more special.

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Should You Borrow Money?

If you're looking at your Christmas funds and thinking that there isn't enough to pay for the Christmas that you want, you might be thinking about borrowing money. This is an option available to you, but you need to think about the pros and cons before you decide if you want to do it. Taking out a loan by working with Wise Loan is a possibility and can give you a quick cash injection for the holidays. However, you need to be sure that you will be able to repay anything that you borrow. Are you borrowing money without knowing if you can repay it, or do you just need a cash advance that you're sure you can repay soon? Borrowing from friends or family is also an option but might not be something you're comfortable with before the holidays, particularly this year.

Get Out in the Sales

Shopping in sales is always a good way of making savings, both before and after Christmas. Many people are drawn to Black Friday, which could be an option if you're looking to save. However, it's important to make sure that you really are making a saving, and you're not just looking at a product that has had its price increased for a short period and then decreased again. Black Friday isn't your only opportunity to buy discounted and sale items, so don't get too caught up in the rush. Businesses still run sales on other days before Christmas.

Use Vouchers

Discount vouchers are fantastic for helping you to save, and they could help to save Christmas. As you might be doing a lot of your Christmas shopping online this year, you should look for online discount codes. You might get sent these in email newsletters or find them on brand social media pages. You can also find them right on their website, and you will often get a discount if you're a first-time customer. You can use a browser extension like Honey to make it easier to find valid codes that you can use. Another tip is to abandon your shopping cart, and you might get sent a discount code to encourage you to complete your purchase.

Save on Your Christmas Menu

For many people, Christmas is nothing without the food. But preparing a feast for a whole family can get expensive, especially when you add holiday snacks to your spending. Try looking in cheaper grocery stores, such as Aldi, if you want to save on the food and drink products that you buy. If your usual Christmas menu is pretty pricey, it might be a good idea to have a rethink and plan something a little cheaper. That might mean making some things yourself instead of buying pre-made or looking for alternative ingredients that will help you to save.

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Create Christmas Experiences for Kids

Are you worried that Christmas won't be fun without lots of gifts and fancy food? Christmas for kids doesn't have to be all about the presents under the tree. The experience of Christmas is what gets lots of kids excited, so that's what you can focus on if you're on a budget. For example, on Christmas Eve, you can create reindeer hoof prints in the snow (or fake snow) and leave a nibbled carrot, as well as make sure Santa enjoys his milk and cookies. On Christmas Day, you can have fun Christmas activities and plenty of excitement without having to spend a lot of money.

Set a Gift Budget

If you're struggling with money this Christmas, you're probably not the only one among your friends and family. Plenty of others are likely to be saving too, and they might be grateful for a savings suggestion from you. By setting a limit of how much you can all spend on each other, it prevents everyone from unnecessarily spending too much. You won't have to feel anxious that you're going to spend a lot less than other people are, and everyone has clear expectations. Another idea is to have a Secret Santa for adults, keeping the usual gifts for children. Then you're only responsible for buying a gift for one person, and you can set a budget.

Improvise Your Decorations

Decorating your home for Christmas is what makes it feel festive, but you don't have to spend a lot of money on ornaments. You can create a festive feel on a budget, and you could even have Christmas without a tree. You might have plenty in your home already, including boxes of ornaments that you have used in previous years. You could improvise a Christmas tree with some solid branches that you can put together in a tree shape. It might not have any pine needles, but you can still hang your ornaments on it. Making your own decorations is another fun thing to do that could save you some money. It's a project you can do with the kids too and can build some Christmas spirit.

Don't Leave It Until the Last Minute

When you're trying to do Christmas on a budget, good planning is key. Don't leave it until the few days before Christmas if you want your cheaper Christmas to still be magical. You risk not being able to find anything that you want and missing out on all the bargains. There's still plenty of time left before the holidays arrive, so start planning what you want to do and how much you're willing to spend. You'll feel better if you get everything sorted with time to spare and perhaps even some money left over too.

Christmas might be on a budget this year, but you can still make it just as magical as any other year. Preparation will help you to create a beautiful Christmas.

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