As the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” But sticking to your Christmas budget can be a nightmare, as you try to save money in the face of unyielding consumerism.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have both a festive and frugal holiday season, allowing you to save money without having to give up the parts of Christmas that you love the most!
The “We Wish You a Frugal Christmas” series here on The Land of Milk and Money seeks to help you find a number of ways to both save and make money this Christmas.
We’ll offer tips on how to save money on gifts, decorating, food and drink as well as travelling over the Christmas period.
And we’ll even show you how to MAKE money during Christmas!
In addition, there are a number of FREE bonus downloadable gifts for you to make this time of year easier from both a planning perspective and from a financial perspective – including one at the end of this post.
Just click through to each article in the list below to see what Santa has left for you around the site!
The “We Wish You a Frugal Christmas” series includes the following articles:
4 Rules to Follow For a Cheap and Cheerful Christmas (that’s this article!) – tried and tested rules to make sure you get through the Christmas season without burning a hole in your finances.
14 Proven Strategies for You to Make Money this Christmas – how to quickly and easily make money this Christmas to stretch that holiday budget just that little bit further.
4 Super Simple Ideas for Beautiful and Budget-Conscious Christmas Decorations – how to easily decorate on a budget this Christmas, without having to DIY!
10 Hacks For Amazing Christmas Presents That Won’t Blow Your Budget – how to uphold the spirit of giving this Christmas without giving up on your budget.
5 Tricks for Finance-Friendly Christmas Travel – how to get to your loved ones this holiday season while still sticking to your savings goals.
7 Easy Ways to Guarantee a Festive Yet Frugal Christmas Feast – how to prepare a delicious and entirely affordable Christmas meal.
So let’s get started!
The Number 1 Rule to Keep in Mind at All Times
We all understand the pressure to make the holidays the best, most festive time ever.
You begin to feel that if you don’t meet the standards set by every Christmas movie ever, then you are an absolute failure as a human being.
Unfortunately, those standards cost money. A lot of money.
Money that would be far better spent on paying off your credit card debt or adding to your investments.
While creating memories with your loved ones is clearly something to treasure, you must keep in mind the following:
It is just one day.
And there is no point bankrupting yourself for “good memories”.
Particularly when those memories will quickly fade into the distance as you are working overtime to fund them.
So when reading the tips below, as well as throughout the rest of the “We Wish You a Frugal Christmas” series, please make sure you remember that you should never go into debt or find yourself suffering, either financially or emotionally, because you think that it is necessary to make it a “good Christmas”.
Your kids will survive if they only get one gift – or none at all.
Your family will be fine with whatever meal you serve them on Christmas Day.
What’s important is being with your loved ones, whether they be friends or family.
And even if you find that you can only be there by Skype, because being there in person during the holiday season is outside of your budget, then that’s perfectly fine as well.
As long as people know that you’re thinking of them, then that’s more than enough.
Set a budget
It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you can afford that won’t impact upon your savings goals.
And once you’ve determined that amount, break it down into how much you want to spend on each category: food and drinks on Christmas Day, gifts, etc.
Psst…want some help in making sure your spending on food and drinks this holiday season is under control? Keep scrolling for the Christmas present you’ve been waiting for!
…and stick to it
(Check out further down this post for a FREE, interactive Christmas Budget that you can keep on your phone or computer to ensure that you have your up to date budget at your fingertips at all times!)
It can be very easy to find yourself standing in the middle of Target, surrounded by Santa’s Workshop, and being tempted by all the sparkling wonders around you.
And before you know it, you have more Christmas tree decorations than you’d need to decorate an entire forest at the North Pole.
Remember, just because something is there, doesn’t mean that you have to buy it.
Some people do this by using cash envelopes. Set out different envelopes labelled with the relevant expenses (“food and drinks”, “gifts” etc.) and then put the amount of money that you’re willing to spend for each category inside. And whatever you do, don’t “borrow” from other envelopes.
Track your expenses
There’s no point having a budget unless you’re tracking what you’re spending accurately and unless you can quickly see how well (or, uh, not well) you’re doing.
Fortunately, we have just the answer!
It’s super easy to use and has a bunch of functionalities.
Firstly, you set your total budget. Then you put in just how much you plan to spend in each individual category. There are 20 pre-set categories to help you on your way, but feel free to add as many as you want!
The Christmas Budget immediately tells you as you add more planned expenses just how far under or over you are from your total available budget. You can then either pat yourself on the back or see straight away where you may need to cut back a bit.
Then, as you’re making purchases throughout the holiday period, you go to the second tab and put in all of your actual expenses as you go. That’s why it’s great to keep this on your phone as well as your computer! Out shopping and just have to pop in and grab one thing for Christmas? Take five seconds to put the price and category of the expense.
The Christmas Budget then automatically tells you the amount that you’re either under or over your planned amount in each category as well as the total amount and percentage that you’re under or over.
The super straightforward graph will also make it immediately clear to you just how well (or, uh, not well) you’re going!
Grab it at the link above and see just how easy it is to keep track of your finances this Christmas.
Check for any savings that are on offer before shopping
Why pay full price when there are so many great deals available?
Before you buy any presents, groceries or other Christmas-related items, make sure that you search for any offers that may be able to save you some cash.
Check out 14 Proven Strategies for You to Make Money this Christmas, our post with stacks of information about how you can earn money while shopping this holiday season, including how to easily find and take advantage of a range of available offers.
Need some help with saving money over the Christmas period in relation to gifts, decorations, food and drink, or travelling? Or want to learn how to make money this Christmas? If so, click here for more of our “We Wish You a Frugal Christmas” series.
Let me know in the comments any great ideas you have about saving money this Christmas – other readers would love to hear about your flashes of brilliance!