I’m really starting to panic over Christmas and how we’re going to afford it this year. We’ve just moved house and so money is really tight but with three kids we can’t just not buy presents. I really wish I’d started shopping earlier and could have spread the cost a bit but I genuinely didn’t realise quite how skint we’d be right now. I really want to give our family a great Christmas but how can I do that on a tight budget? Please help!
SMITH SOLVES IT:
Hi and thanks for getting in touch.
Many people find themselves in a similar boat around this time of year. The months have flown by and all the money they hoped to have saved towards Christmas has had to go on other things. The good news is that you and your family can still have a lovely Christmas together, no matter what budget you have to spend.
Not All About Presents
Despite what television adverts and shopping centres would have you believe, Christmas isn’t about the presents. If you’re religious the focus is around celebrating Jesus’ birth and whether you believe in God or not, Christmas is all about making time to spend with the people you love.
You can create great memories with the kids without spending loads of cash. Make your own decorations, get wrapped up and fly a kite, bake Christmas cookies, wander around town looking at the lights and attend a carol service or school nativity play. These are the things that children remember when they grow up and they’re far more valuable than pieces of plastic tat.
Check out Free sites
However, gifting is a big part of Christmas and of course you want to be able to watch your children’s eyes widen with delight as they open their presents on Christmas morning. Keep an eye on websites like Freecycle and Gumtree for people giving away toys and games. It’s also worth checking out eBay, charity shops and car boot sales to pick up bargains. Around this time of year lots of people start clearing out old toys to make room for new ones so you can easily pick up some amazing bits in great condition if you keep your eyes peeled.
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but it really isn’t worth getting into debt for. Try to avoid using credit cards as much as possible and rather than paying back this Christmas in January, you can start to save towards next year’s celebrations. If you do choose to borrow then make sure the costs go onto a card with 0% interest.
Remember that kids aren’t generally aware of the value of things and as long as they get something they like, they won’t care if it cost £1 or £100. Concentrate on creating family memories together and you might find that this turns out to be one of your best Christmases yet.