Christmas can be stressful, expensive and can often not live up to expectations, so planning is essential. If you plan your Christmas way in advance, it means no rushing round at the last minute trying to get everything done. It means that your kids will love the presents that you’ve bought them and won’t forget about them in two weeks time. It also means that the food that you prepare will be yummy, and it won’t cost the earth.
If you don’t bother with a budget because you enjoy buying presents too much and you don’t want to think about the consequences, then you need a reality check. Even if you’re bathing in money, you still have limited funds like everybody else. Learning to shop within your means will leave you feeling much more satisfied when you come in under budget. There are three key areas that you need to think about when budgeting:
Create a spreadsheet and itemise everything, then set an upper limit. Then you can start thinking about how you’re going to save your money.
A great way to spread the cost of Christmas is to buy presents all year round. Pay particular attention to sales – but do try to remember that tastes change and crazes come and go. Alternatively, start shopping really early – at least 10 weeks before Christmas (i.e. now!) – and try to plan out what you’ll buy, so you know when you can buy it. Take a look at The Discovery Store for some great gift ideas for all the family.
About a month before Christmas, start thinking about what you want to eat on the day itself. Plan a menu out, not forgetting breakfast, snacks and even another meal if you have one. Next, create a menu consisting of the things you need to buy and in what order you’re going to buy them. If there are dry or freezable goods that you can buy in advance, make sure you do so. It’s a great way to save money and stress, especially if there are any unusual or hard to find things on the menu.
Saving money on your decorations is really easy. Making your own may seem kitsch, but it’s a brilliant way to get your kids involved with making your home look Christmassy. Whether you go for paper chains and glitter or make your own stockings, there’s no end to the things that you can make when you get creative.