Christmas is a truly expensive time of year. Beneath all the joy and giving is money spent on presents, wrapping, cards, decorations, food and more. In yesterday's post I spoke all about feeling overwhelmed at this time of year, monetarily or otherwise. It's something that can really weigh you down, so today I'm chatting all about doing Christmas on a tight budget.
Everyone's idea of a budget is very different, so I'm going to try and chat about this as best I can in a way that is relevant for most people. I think what's most important (and what I suck at) is working out how much you have to spend on everything, including 'the big day'. Give yourself a little bit of leeway so that if you overspend slightly it doesn't mean you're struggling for bills or rent money this month.
The last few years I've really had very little to spend at Christmas at all, so I've learnt to prioritise. I write a big ol' list of everyone that I need to write cards to and buy presents for. As soon as I've bought a present for someone I note it down so that I don't end up accidentally overbuying or leaving someone out. I either wait to see my family, or send out their cards in big batches to a family member that I know will be seeing them over the festive period, and it saves me a buttload in postage. These might sound like little things, but they can make a big difference.
Food. I spread out the Christmas food over a few different food shops so that it doesn't smack me in the face all at once. I buy a bit of alcohol and some Christmas chocolates one week, the turkey the next, the cranberry sauce and soft drinks the next and so on. I also totally always go for a frozen turkey, and we buy all our food from Morrisons at Christmastime. Although it seems like an incredible idea to shop somewhere more pricey to buy special Christmas food, I honestly think if you put in that little bit of extra time preparing everything in a tasty way on Christmas Day no one's going to notice the difference.
It's always the little things that seem to add up most for me, as they slip me by. From wrapping paper to a Christmassy table cloth, these things can really stack up in price. Although I've been lusting over all the cute festive homeware in Next this year, I've avoided spending all my money on it by shopping around. B & M have some incredible bits including dupes of Bath and Body Works festive candles, and the whole store is absolutely cheap and cheerful. I've picked up so many little presents from here (they have SUCH good deals on selection boxes and biscuits etc) as well as my tablecloth for the big day, a tree blanket for the pine needles to fall on and masses of wrapping paper. Wilkos, LIDL and Poundland also honestly do some fab bits of Christmas decor that you'd find for three times the price elsewhere.
This post is partly a reminder to me that I don't have to spend more than I can on Christmas. It's okay to budget and to scrimp and save on things. Christmas is about the act of giving and the thought you put into things, not about the price tag on the gifts.