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How to spend less in the lead up to Christmas

Often the knowledge that Christmas is coming can be daunting and anxiety-inducing to those of us that don’t have a lot of cash to splurge over the holidays. What should be a time of togetherness and belonging can make us feel guilty, jealous and judgemental towards one another.

Many of us are unhappy with the commercialism that almost inevitably plays a part of the lead up to Christmas day, and know that it’s silly to buy lavish presents for family members that will be left unopened despite being accepted with a genuine smile and a thank you. Here are some ways that you can help keep family and friends the focal point of your Christmas, keeping the spending low and spirits high.

Be honest

Being straight with your friends and family could be a quick way to get through without hurting anyone’s feelings nearer the time. If you can’t afford to buy everyone presents like you have in previous years, or just want to change your usual Christmas gift swapping, say in advance what you’re going to do, and make sure that everyone is happy with it. You never know, someone might have been waiting for someone else to mention it for years.

Implement secret santa

Secret santa doesn’t have to be something you only do at work. Introducing secret santa to your family or group of friends adds a bit of mystery and excitement to the day, and means you only have to buy one present rather than many. Try as best you can to keep the person you’re buying for a surprise for extra fun on the day and make sure everyone agrees on the budget.

Bring in a ‘kids only’ rule

If you typically end up buying presents for kids, adults, friends of kids etc the costs can really add up. If you feel like secret santa may not work in your family, try implementing a new rule where only the children receive presents, or that you only buy one present for each family. It’s normally only the children that expect a gift anyway.

Make extra money in the lead up to Christmas

Decluttering could make you some extra money to go towards the holidays. Have a rummage through your home and see what you can get rid of – you might be able to sell some items on eBay or use something like ‘Music Magpie’ to sell old CDs DVDs and games. For larger items on eBay you may need to use a courier like Shiply so don’t forget to factor this into the price.

There are lots of apps around where you can make money by doing very little. Answering surveys can make you a nice pot of cash. The app ‘job spotter’ rewards you in Amazon credit for uploading photos of job advertisements in shop windows which you could put towards gift buying.

Use your creativity

If you’re a great cook, seamstress or artist, why not play to your strengths? Those receiving a gift made by you will appreciate it much more and hopefully can save you some money, too. This might of course take more time to make but will save you hunting around the shops. You could even swap your expertise for something else, like offering to bring a dessert for Christmas dinner rather than bringing the hosts a gift.

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