Finance Your Budget How to have a great Christmas on a budget

How to have a great Christmas on a budget

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It’s that time of the year when diets go out the window and cocktail parties are a dime a dozen. Christmas is notoriously bad for your self-control, but that doesn’t mean your bank account has to suffer. To prevent your debt from expanding at the same rate as your waistline, take a look at The New Daily’s top tips for a thrifty silly season.

1. Get your food quantities right.

 Jessie Reid, author of affordable lifestyle blog The Dull Roar Philosophy, recommends buying less meat.

“It’s the most expensive part of the meal so choose wisely,” she says.

“Choose the right amount to feed the number of people you have.”

If you find that cutting down on turkey fails to sate your Christmas cravings, you can add side servings of seasonal vegetables.

2. Keep your wrapping simple.

Let’s be honest, it all ends up on the floor anyway. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make your gifts look like something out of a magazine. Simple wrapping will make an impact, so consider using materials like recycled newspaper or twine.

3.    Make Christmas gift rules.

Set strict guidelines as to how many presents you will exchange with friends and family, especially if you have children.

It’s important to ensure you don’t set a precedent for lavish gifts.

Ms. Reid suggests that three gifts per child or one stocking of goodies will suffice.

If you have a large family, The Salvation Army recommends you implement a Kris Kringle system to avoid purchasing something for every family member.

4.    Start shopping early.

Look out for potential Christmas gifts during the mid-year stocktake sales.

It also pays to think ahead when it comes to decorations and Christmas crackers.

“Stock up in the New Year sales,” Ms. Reid advises. “For heaven’s sake, be selective – don’t be charmed by oodles of fluffy purple tinsel.”

5.    Debit, not credit.

The Salvation Army urges Christmas shoppers to “buy what you can afford” and avoid falling into debt. Using your debit card will mean you are unable to exceed your limit.

6.    Less food and booze, more interaction.

“It’s bad for our health and eating and drinking too much is also terrible for our wallets,” Ms. Reid says.

The Salvation Army concurs that “overconsumption is a hall-mark of the Christmas period” and cutting back will prevent a painful January.

If no alcohol and dessert sounds a bit dull, “try to fill the void with organized games like charades,” Ms. Reid suggests.

It will allow you to bond with your family without suffering from a headache the next morning.