How Much Does Christmas Cost You? 7 Smart Ways to Save on Food, Gifts, & More

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Finding ways to save money Christmas shopping can be difficult. Christmas is about giving, and no one wants to feel cheap when their friends and family are opening gifts.

For that reason, we’ve pulled together seven tips you can use to save money while shopping for food, gifts, and everything Christmas. Use these tips to enjoy the holiday without breaking the bank. Let’s get into it!

1. Make a Budget

Making a budget is the first step in any money-saving guide, and trying to save money Christmas shopping is no different.

You’re going to overspend if you don’t set a limit on yourself, so find a way to fit the things your friends and family want into what you can afford to spend.

Take your monthly income, subtract your bills and food costs, and find out how much money you have left that isn’t allocated to other expenses. You’ll need to work within these parameters when you’re shopping for gifts or planning a meal.

2. Keep Track of What You Spend

This tip goes hand-in-hand with setting a budget. Restricting yourself won’t do any good if you’re not paying attention to how much money you’ve spent.

Keep an Excel spreadsheet or similar that lets you track how much you’ve spent on gifts. Allow some wiggle room for unexpected costs that might crop up, but don’t lose track of your spending.

3. Don’t be the Host

Hosting Christmas can be ideal for some people. You will have to prepare most of the meal and clean up after your guests, but you also don’t have to go anywhere when the festivities are over.

Unfortunately, being the host for the Christmas get together is probably the most expensive role. If you’re trying to save money this year, you may have to pass on hosting duties this year.

4. Find Some Discount Codes

Most stores offer discounts around Christmas time, often in the form of online discount codes. Finding them is the only difficulty, but there are several websites that can help you out with this.

Free services like Honey and Retail Me Not list all of the coupon codes you can use in your area. Honey, for instance, will automatically track any purchase you make and apply the relevant discount. All you have to do is download the browser app and you’re on your way.

Shopping discounts are a fantastic way to save during the holiday season, and using these tools can make it much easier.

5. No Unnecessary Gifts

The idea that giving gifts is the best part of Christmas is a bit cliche, but it’s true nonetheless. It feels great to see the smile on someone’s face when they open your gift is fantastic, and one of the reasons Christmas is arguably the best holiday of the year.

Planning Christmas on a budget means it’s difficult to buy a gift for everyone. You probably won’t be able to wow all of your friends with massive hauls this year, and that’s a reality you’ll have to accept.

Depending on your list of people to buy for, you could talk to some of your friends about skipping gifts this year. You may still be able to buy gifts for close friends, partners, and family, but skipping your group of friends can be a massive financial load off of your shoulders.

There are some alternatives you can try if you don’t like the idea of skipping gift giving with friends altogether. Host a White Elephant (sometimes called a Yankee Swap) or organise a Secret Santa instead. These kinds of events have a spending limit attached, which helps you maintain a holiday budget.

That way, you can still take part in the holiday fun without spending a fortune on gifts for your friends.

6. Downgrade Your Spread

Food is a massive cost during Christmas, and it isn’t always possible to avoid hosting some sort of party for the holiday. If you do, try to downgrade the food you select to save some money.

If you can get away with generic brand-name items like cheese and crackers, go for it. You can also keep an eye out for sales on your favourite items and stockpile them before the holiday (of course, this only works for non-perishables).  

You could also host a potluck and invite everyone to bring a dish. Not only can this save you money, but it will save on prep time.

7. Don’t Overspend on Kids

Everyone wants to be the cool aunt or uncle who blows the kids away with their high-priced gifts. The only problem is that kids don’t appreciate the price tag. They can be just as happy with a few small things as they will with a big-ticket item.

Gifting to children doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a range of items and prices to choose from. If a child has their heart set on something outside of your price range, see if there’s another adult or two who you can collaborate with to split the cost.

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