Christmas seems a little far away right now, after all, it is still August and the summer holidays are in full flow. But, that doesn’t mean that as parents the big “C” word isn’t at the back of our minds.
I always find as soon as the summer is over and the kids are back to school, I begin to think about Christmas.
In fact, sometimes I do it even earlier. Last year I bought all my Christmas presents in August, making the most of the end of summer sales!
If you're on a budget for Christmas then it really can pay to start preparing as early as possible to lessen the financial burden and have a plan in place.
One thing you might be wondering is how can you make Christmas magical for children if you are on a tight budget?
There are so many ways, but often with Christmas, we need to start thinking about the costs involved.
I wanted to share with you some of the ways that you can make Christmas magical for your children. And how you can do it with a bit of planning in advance to spread the cost.
Have a plan
One of the best things you can do when it comes to Christmas is to have some form of plan in place. It will sneak up on us before we know it. The plan can include all sorts of things. It might be lists of the people you want to buy gifts for and what those gifts might be. It might be a plan on how you want to spend the Christmas period, from taking your children to see Santa to hosting parties and gatherings with friends and family, or even preparing for guests to stay at Christmas. It might be planning the Christmas dinner or deciding on what you want to do on the day itself.
Having a plan can help you to be better prepared for the season, and with it only being four short months away it is time to start thinking about it.
For example, I have already booked us a trip away. I booked it in January and we’ll be going to Bluestone for a few nights to enjoy their Christmas activities and Kingdom Of The Elves. We’ll not be there for the day itself, but close to it. We’ve not yet been away at Christmas so I can’t wait! I think the kids will be so excited. Booking it in January meant I was sure we had it booked as I can imagine it gets very popular and also I could spread the cost through the entire year.
I’ve also booked a table for Christmas Day for our Christmas lunch! It’s also the first year we’ve ever done this.
I’ve wanted to go out for Christmas lunch for years, but Ben always wanted to be at home on the day itself. This year, however, he’s had a change of heart and we are going to a local country pub that has an entire vegan menu! Again, this has been booked now as their bookings are open and they advise booking sooner rather than later as it is very popular.
I will pay a deposit in October and will receive the set menus so I can save enough money to cover the cost well ahead of the day. The kids love eating out so it will be a really magical treat for all of us on the day.
Check out our tips on how to find a Christmas menu to suit your budget.
Christmas is an expensive time of the year, there is no denying that fact. It doesn’t intend to be, nor should it be about money. Buying gifts, spending more on events or days out, taking time off work to be with the family which may end up with less pay for the December month. It can be a hard time. So try and take some time to enjoy it by saving for it right now. It might be that you save a small amount each week, or put all of your change into one of those savings tins. Little and often is the key to making it a success.
Alternatively, do what I do and try to pay for things in advance. If you are booking trips or day trips then these can often be paid for well in advance. If not, then find out how much they will cost and save beforehand.
Write out your present and card list and keep an eye out for bargains in the stores throughout the year. Then by the time Christmas comes you’ll just need to buy the wrap!
This is how I planned it last year and by December we were able to have our monthly pay as usual and not have to suffer a huge dent in it because of Christmas.
Even worse was a few years ago where I put it all on a credit card in December and then spent three months paying it back the following year. I will now always avoid this and spread the cost through the year or save up so our December pay doesn’t take a big hit.
We will also be having a more minimal Christmas this year. The children will be having four gifts each along the lines of ‘something you want, something you need, something to eat, something to read’. I saw someone mention this online, I can’t remember who, and it’s really stuck with me. As someone who has a passion for minimalism I really like the idea of a minimal Christmas.
Less presents, but more days out and adventures instead.
Make some extra cash to help pay for it
Maybe you need some extra cash to help pay for Christmas. My blog is full of ideas on how you can make extra money from home and ways to make money online. Often it is all about using your spare time more wisely. It could include taking on some online side hustles like filling out online surveys or performing mystery shops. It could be that you make some extra cash by decluttering your home. Listing things online on websites like eBay and making some extra cash, and space in your home.
It could even mean taking on extra shifts at work or overtime if it is available. Doing it now means that you can then save the extra income for December, when you might need it the most.
Christmas should never be a worry financially or a struggle.
With a bit of forward planning or money making ideas you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities whilst affording them too.
That said, Christmas isn’t all about spending. Take time to enjoy just being with your family or taking a well-deserved break at the end of a bust year. If you can’t afford to buy presents, then don’t. People will understand. You should never give only to receive.
Think outside of the box
Christmas is one of those times of years that I think parents love. There is something about the magic of the time of the year that you see in your children’s eyes that can often make any extra hard work or expenditure all the more worthwhile. If you love Christmas and you do have money to spare then you may want to think about some of the ways that you can make it extra special for your family.
One of the best things to consider would be unique Lapland snow holidays. This would be an absolute dream for many and perhaps even a once in a lifetime experience on our bucket lists! The home of Father Christmas himself, and a place filled with wonder and magic. Not only is it a great thing to do around Christmas time but it can also be a fabulous family holiday to enjoy. Perhaps skip the summer holiday one year and instead have a Christmas holiday!
Other things you could consider would be decorating your home for Christmas with your children, documenting the things you do in a Christmas scrapbook, making cards or Christmas food. Planning ahead means you can really feel in control and actually enjoy Christmas rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed by it.
Have a list and start buying now
Finally, if you like to plan ahead then a great tip would be to have a list of things you need, such as gifts, cards, decorations, drinks – basically anything that can be purchased in advance and start buying them now. Many stores and shops hold summer sales and this could be the perfect opportunity to buy the things you need and save a little money in the process.
Even buying party food ahead of time and freezing it when they are on offer with buy one get one free offers could save you a fair bit in the long run. Buying in advance isn’t just suitable for presents, but for long lasting or freezer friendly food, drink, décor and everything you usually wait until December to buy. Think about what you could start adding to your weekly shops each now to ease the expenditure in December.
I hope that these tips help you to plan and prepare for your magical Christmas with your family and make spreading the cost a little easier so you don’t have to worry about paying for everything in one go this December.