There’s no escaping the fact that Christmas is an expensive time of the year – but in the midst of the pandemic, with unemployment at an all time high, it’s even more important that we spend wisely this Christmas, and try not to break the bank. With that in mind, here are my top 5 tips no how to not break the bank….
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Don’t fall for it
Supermarkets are sneaky – and they’ll often drop the price on things that you need for Christmas a few weeks in advance. This may seem like a great thing – but – check the use by dates on the things you’re buying. It’s very likely that the price has been reduced on those Christmas Puddings – not to help you out come Christmas Day, but to shift stock that is going out of date! I saw a pudding last week who’s use by date was the 18th December 2020 – that’s not really ideal. Of course, if you’re happy to run the risk (a very low risk – we rarely stick to dates with exception of meat or perishables) – then you could get a good deal. Supermarkets might claim they’ll ensure you don’t break the bank – but honestly, they’re all about profit 😉
On a similar note – don’t always fall for a bigger size pack being better value. I’ve seen a few instances of a bigger pack of something (crisps, for example, a single big bag) appearing to be a better price – however, when you look, it’s cheaper to buy a 6 pack in terms of quantity. Always check the price per KG/100g/whatever on the price labels, you’ll quickly be able to work out if the offer is as good as it looks – don’t be surprised when it isn’t!
This is obvious – right? Write a list of all the things you need, both in terms of presents, and food. Planning in advance is crucial – write lists and keep on top of them. We always find that if we go to the supermarket or shops without a list – we forget what we need, and buy what we don’t need. And that’s just a waste of money. And time, because I then have to go back and get what we actually needed!
Me and Ash always set a limit for each other in terms of gift buying so we don’t break the bank. Likewise, as a family we always have a limit on how much to spend on the kids. By doing this – we know in advance exactly how much we’re going to need to spend, and on who. We’re also firm believers that Christmas isn’t about grand gestures and expensive gifts – but more so about appreciating the day for what it is – happy, fun times together. Yes it’s great to open all the gifts, and if you’re one for lavish gestures, that’s fine – but for us, that’s not what it’s about anymore. We’re also very aware that Grayson will probably enjoy the boxes more than the toys 😉
Don’t over buy
This kind of falls in to the list writing – but I’m a real sucker for over buying food for Christmas. In my mind, the shops are shut for days and I need enough food to last 4 weeks – so I used to go out and over buy everything. Of course, this just meant that things went off, got wasted, or I simply forget what I bought. This year, I’m planning to do quite the opposite – and simply buy for a nice evening meal Christmas Eve, and the main Christmas lunch. I’m going to avoid buying all the buffet food that I usually get in favour of either making things myself, or eating the leftovers from the bigger meals.
Spread the cost
Start your planning early ( a bit late this year I guess! ) – We started doing our Christmas shopping back in October – and apart from the food shopping, we were done by the start of November. This allowed us to spread the cost over a few months – and not to have a massive outgoing in December all at the same time. It’s always a bit awkward asking what people want for Christmas in October, though 😉
My workplace also offers a saving scheme – it’s not something I get involved with, but if you did need a hand keeping that money aside, see if your workplace offers one too. They take a small amount of your salary each month and keep it aside until the end of November, then you receive a lump payment back in your salary to help out with the Christmas costs. This is really useful if you’re not great at saving, or simply don’t want to have to think about it!
There’s lots of excellent tips around to help save money and not break the bank at Christmas – I think for us it’s the importance of planning and ensuring we maintain realistic expectations are the top ones! You can check out our other Blogmas posts just here.