Thursday, December 8, 2016

Enjoying a Fun Yet Frugal Festive Season

Looking for ways, you keep your spending down this Christmas? It’s no wonder- as the expensive time of the year unfortunately costs can spiral unless you’re careful. Many people find themselves in all kinds of trouble come January due to overspending on festivities. It doesn’t have to spoil your fun, just bear these things in mind, and you will have a fun yet frugal festive season.

Set a Budget
Before you spend anything, carefully plan out a budget. This gives you total control of your finances. Planning your money down to the last penny shows you exactly what you have to work with and stops you from going off track. You could write everything out with pen and paper or use a budget tracking app, whichever works for you. Decide on how much you will be spending on each person for gifts, your Christmas dinner, travel and any extras. Careful planning here goes a long way.

Don’t Go Overboard With Food and Drink
Of course, you’re going to want to eat and drink delicious things over Christmas. But you don’t have to buy so much that it’s lasting you all the way through to the new year. If you plan meals as you usually would, accounting for any extras and work out what kinds of treats and drinks you will realistically need you’ll save money and won't over buy. Don’t forget people will more than likely be gifting you things like chocolate and other sweet treats so there’s plenty of this stuff flying around over the festive season.

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Reuse Decorations
Christmas decorations are the kind of thing that accumulate each year, which is nice because it means pieces have memories and sentiment attached to them. If you’re the kind of person that likes to go out with a new color scheme each year, then stop! Reuse what you have instead. It will save money, and your home will look just as gorgeous. Alternatively, you could buy one special decoration each year and write the date on the back. That way they will accumulate, and you never spend too much in one go at Christmas. The same applies to your Christmas tree. While real trees are beautiful and artificial ones can be a pain to store, it means you save money every year. You can buy them cheaply and put away properly will last you for many years.

DIY Instead of Buy
When it comes to gifts, it really is the thought that counts. And nothing shows that as much as something homemade. It shows you have invested your time and energy into it which is far more precious than money. You could bake something, or create something with fabric if you’re handy with a sewing machine. You could make homemade candles, jewelry or put together a little hamper of individual items. DIY presents can look really quite impressive, Pinterest has so many ideas to get you started, so it’s worth having a browse.

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Do Secret Sister
If you have a group of friends, family or work colleagues that you usually buy gifts for- why not consider doing secret Sister instead? That way you all save on costs as everyone only has to buy one gift, but you still get the fun present swapping experience.

Avoid Credit and Finance Purchases
With Christmas looming it can be tempting to resort to credit cards, loans and finance in order to fund your purchases. But you should always avoid this where possible as it means you’re avoiding debt. Lending can be a slippery slope and lead to a ruined credit score and all kinds of hassle if you fall behind with payments. It’s so not worth it for one day; you’ll be taking debt into the new year with you which doesn’t start things off on a good foot. If you want to buy something expensive your best bet is to start a savings account early in the year and put in as much as you can afford until you can buy it in cash. It’s too late to do this now, but for next year it’s something to bear in mind. It can be strange thinking about Christmas in August, but the festive season has a way of sneaking up. Come next December you’ll be glad you put money aside rather than having a panic about how you’re going to afford everything.

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Focus on Family Time Instead of Expensive Gifts
Expensive gifts are great if you can afford them, but actually what really matters at Christmas is quality time with loved ones. Set up some fun family activities to do to enjoy the season, you could go on a walk around your neighborhood and look at all of the Christmas lights. You could build a snowman family, bake or craft together. You could set up a festive family movie night with homemade snacks and lots of festive movies. Put the emphasis on the Christmas period in general, rather than amping it up to one big day where everyone opens tons of expensive presents.

Make Stockings a Big Part Of The Day
The great thing about stockings is you can buy lots of smaller items without spending much, but when they’re all together in the stocking, they look impressive. It’s good as it gives kids lots of things to unwrap but means you don’t break the bank. Check out eBay, Dollar stores, thrift stores and other budget shops on the highstreet for novelties, trinkets and other things you can include. It’s a fun thing to sit and open together as a family and could make an awesome Christmas morning tradition. For teens and women, it could be things like fluffy socks, candles, bath and beauty products and dress jewelry. For children, it could be inexpensive toys, puzzles, and novelties, little things to keep them amused and entertained.

How do you keep costs down over Christmas time?

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