‘Tis the season of togetherness, giving and overindulgence. Some take this overindulgence to all aspects of Christmas, including their spending. At Christmas time consumers seek escapism and a break from the office, but this can easily turn into a time of overspending that carries debt through to the new year. Hopefully this list will give you some inspiration for trying something different this year, whether it’s substituting presents for something more personal or approaching Christmas in a totally different way this year. Your wallet will thank you!
Sometimes it’s best to just be upfront so others know the situation to avoid any awkwardness later on. If you know you’ve not got much money to splurge, then just say it! Let loved ones know that you won’t be able to spend much this year and therefore you would rather they didn’t give much or anything to you for Christmas either. Remember to be sensitive as there may be others in the same situation, or some that have already planned their present buying, so make sure everyone knows well in advance. Your words are likely to be met with relief, as many others would rather keep the costs down, too.
Approach your spending differently
If you’d rather not put yourself in the spotlight by declaring your (lack of) bank balance, look at alternative ways to purchase presents. If you’re looking for something specific, try finding it second hand – there are many bargains to be had by purchasing something that’s barely used but isn’t brand new. Remember to also take advantage of sales and events like Black Friday, especially when you already have products in mind that could be heavily reduced temporarily. If buying online though, don’t forget to think about delivery costs and figure out your budget accordingly. For clothing or media like books and DVDs, charity shops are excellent value and your more ethically-minded loved ones will love the fact that they are contributing to recycling and sharing.
Try to introduce new rules or traditions
A great way to save everyone some cash is for you all to come to an agreement that benefits everyone (not just you). Ideas include: introducing a rule where only children receive presents if it’s fair for everyone (if you have children and others don’t, remember that this could be unfair), or alternatively you could arrange a secret santa instead, where everyone gets a gift, but only 1. Bonus points for keeping your giftee a secret! Whatever you agree on, make sure it’s all sorted in advance and that everyone understands what’s happening.
Think of alternatives
If you’ve been invited somewhere for Christmas day, make sure you bring something, even if it’s not necessarily a result of spending. Whether it’s helping to cook like bringing the Christmas dessert or bringing all the games to play on the day, there are still many ways to get involved without having to overspend. If you are planning to bring something, make sure you clear it with the host first – too many desserts will be a waste and if someone has a dietary requirement, you need to know!
If you’re hosting this year and are worried about the cost of food for everyone, or are not sure how you’ll be able to cook the amount of food required, you might want to ask guests to each bring a dish with them instead of taking on all the responsibility yourself. You could ask guests to bring food to share instead of bringing presents and you’ll have a wonderful feast that everyone has played a part in creating. If your loved ones are not confident cooks, allow them to buy food to contribute instead so no one feels stressed or under pressure.
***Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Shiply. Please refer to our Disclosure Statement for further information. ***