For children, Christmas can be one of the most magical times of the year, full of love, hope and imagination.
But, for some parents, Christmas can be a worrying time. With presents and food to pay for and visiting relatives to keep occupied, the cost of a family Christmas can be rather high.
Although it is hard to take all the stress away from Christmas, planning a budget for your celebrations may help to relieve some of the stress.
For some helpful tips on how you can cut the cost of Christmas, have a read of this.
Food and drink
Instead of going for a crazy Christmas food shop, plan ahead and only get what you know will get eaten. Make a plan and a list before your shopping trip and ensure that you take it with you and stick to it as much as possible. Before doing your big Christmas shop, find out which supermarket has the best deals on and go there.
Save up as many vouchers and coupons as you can prior to your Christmas shop. Whilst you may think 30 pence isn’t a big saving, remember that every little helps.
Instead of buying a fresh butcher’s turkey, opt for a frozen alternative. Whilst fresh turkey may taste a little nicer, if you can’t afford it then you can’t afford it.
Never throw away leftover food. Instead, wrap it in Clingfilm and place it in the fridge. Leftover turkey is great for making a curry, pasta recipe or even for sandwiches.
Alcohol can be expensive, so don’t go crazy buying it. Only get what you need, after all you don’t want anyone ending up drinking too much do you?
One of the largest costs of Christmas comes from buying presents. The more people you have to buy for, the more expensive it can become.
Before going shopping, make a list of everyone you have to get gifts for. Plug the total amount you have to spend into an online budget calculator. To help you only spend what you can afford, set a budget for each gift and stick to it.
If you are buying presents for your extended family, why not ask if they would be happy to set a spending limit on gifts. Setting a spending limit will help to make sure no one spends too much and is disappointed with their budget gift. Alternatively, why not arrange a family secret Santa? That way each family member only has to buy a gift for one person.
If money is tight, but you still want to get your children gifts they will love, think outside the box. Use your local thrift stores to find low-cost stocking fillers that the kids will love.
Electronic gifts like MP4 players, IPads and computer games can be expensive to buy. So, instead opt for non-electrical alternatives. Customised presents, like embroidered blankets, towels and personalised hoodies make lovely Christmas gifts, and best of all, don’t cost too much to buy. Arts and crafts sets are popular with younger children, as are board games.
Remember, it is the thought that counts.
Don’t be tempted to overspend on your Christmas tree and decorations. Instead of buying decorations, get your children to help you make some. To give your old decorations a new look, why not add some glitter to them – it’s easy to do and cost-effective. Christmas wreaths are expensive to buy, so why not make your own?