Christmas is coming and many of us already started Christmas shopping and making plans and preparations for the upcoming holidays……that’s a fact….,but…..
……How many of us actually took the time to make a Christmas budget so we don’t have to start the New Year with more consumer debt and more stress?
For many years I didn’t take the time to think about budgeting. Frugal Christmas was not in my vocabulary.Christmas budget was non-existent. I was buying presents without shopping list and without thinking about the bills in January. Yes, I was living in the scary world of plastic credit.
In 2008 few weeks before Christmas my husband the main provider lost his job overnight. Since the reality didn’t set in till few months later I still did what I’ve been doing for years. I didn’t care about Christmas budget. I didn’t care about making list and sticking to it and I really didn’t want to have a frugal Christmas.
Was I being foolish? Was I being irresponsible? Was I being naive? Was I thinking that another job is waiting for him?
I was not being prepared for the worst year of my life……the reality was…..my husband couldn’t find a job for 13 months and I learned a lot that year.
Christmas 2009 was the first FRUGAL CHRISTMAS in our house. We made a Christmas budget. I looked for ways to save money everywhere I went. We stuck to our Christmas budget and we had no bills the day after Christmas.
The best part was that our Frugal Christmas was the best Christmas we ever had…..ever since then….PERFECT CHRISTMAS for me means……Christmas with and on a budget.
We came together as a family and for the first time in my life I saw my children being excited and appreciate every single present they opened.We enjoyed many Christmas activities and played many Christmas games as a family.
That year we all learned that Christmas is not about the gifts…..the fancy decorations….the trips….. the gourmet foods that nobody can pronounce……
………CHRISTMAS is about being together and making the best of what you have.
I learned to LOVE having Christmas on a budget. I look forward to make our own Christmas decorations. I treasure the time I spend with my family and friends. I don’t miss the after Christmas bills in the mail. I learned to love and appreciate FRUGAL CHRISTMAS.
There are few tips to Christmas on a budget I picked up along the way that I would love to share with you:
- Make a Christmas budget – before you start shopping write down the amount you can spend
- Make a Christmas list – don’t shop without a list. Write down the name of each person and the amount you will spend on them. Then write down the present or presents you would like to buy. Look for the best price. Sometimes you can save up to 70% by comparing and looking around. Make sure you have alternate gifts in case the one they really want is out of you budget.
- Make Your Own Presents – many of us have certain skills and talents so why not use them to give personal gifts from the heart. More ways to save money and surprise our friends and love ones.
- Make a Christmas dinner menu in advance – start shopping early for items on sale. If you start shopping 4 weeks before Christmas you will end up with lots of great deals. If you are hosting Christmas dinner for a large group don’t be afraid to tell your family and friends to bring certain food items or dishes to contribute.
- Join or start Christmas Baking Exchange – this is a great way to save money and end up with lots of baked goodies. All you have to do is bake bigger amount of one or two kinds. You don’t need to spend big chunk of your Christmas budget on expensive baking supplies to have a variety.
- Make inexpensive Christmas decorations and have quality fun time with your family. Perfect and easy Christmas decorations are garlands from popcorn and cranberries. They look so beautiful and festive on your Christmas tree. Make your own centerpieces with pine cones and evergreens. The possibilities are endless. All you need is your imagination.
Frugal Christmas is nothing to be depressed about. Once you try it you’ll never go back to the ways you used to celebrate Christmas.
Anybody even with a tiny Christmas budget can turn frugal Christmas into the most magical time of the year. All you need is your family, friends and little bit of imagination.