“Maybe Christmas” he thought, “Doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” – How the Grinch stole Christmas!
I think it’s fair to say that Christmas 2020 is going to be very different from that of Christmases past. The gatherings we are used to, with family and friends, are certainly going to be different; and so to will the our bank balances in light of job losses etc.
So in an effort to share some positivity and ease some stress on the upcoming season, I have put together some Festive Planning Hacks to help you get the most out of what is going to be an extraordinary Christmas without breaking the bank.
Make a list… and check it twice
This is my number one tip out of all of them here. Always make a list of who you’re buying for, the budget you have set for them and types of things they like. By doing this you’re narrowing down your shopping sphere somewhat.
Get cashback on your purchases
This is a handy little tool to have in your money saving arsenal. There are specific sites that offer cashback on your purchases such as Top Cashback as well as banks. A number of the UK High Street banks offer discounts on purchases which are then paid back into your bank account. Some of the challenger banks are also doing the same.
If you don’t get cashback on purchases through your bank, why not try ’rounding up’. If your bank doesn’t offer that facility it’s very simple to do yourself. In your online banking app round up to the next £, $, €, your currency, what you have spent and put the change in a separate account. The pennies soon mount up.
Money, Money, Money
So whilst we are on the subject of money and budgets, don’t take out loans or credit cards or increase your overdraft for Christmas, if you’re struggling. You will only have to pay the money borrowed back at a later stage. Any adverse credit issues will wind up on your credit rating, preventing you from getting credit in the future; so it’s just not worth it.
No longer confined to just the workplace, Secret Santa is a great cost saving way of giving gifts, if you have a big family. This year will be the first time that we’ve ventured down the Secret Santa route in our family and I’m really looking forward to it. The logistics can be a bit of a nightmare, but thanks to some handy free Secret Santa Generator websites the recipient choice, the budget etc. can all be text to the Secret Santa buyer.
Shop online to avoid those impulse purchases
This is a great tip. It’s so easy to be in an actual shop and see something, buy it and then work out who you’re going to give it to, rather than the other way round. Online shopping makes it so easy to research what you want to buy, compare prices and make that all important purchase.
There is no shame in regifting presents, and I bet if you were honest you’ve already done it. If someone bought you a gift that really isn’t to your taste then don’t feel bad about passing it onto someone that you know will get more out of it. The same goes for free gifts you may have received during the year as part of a promotion for instance. Rather than seeing it going to the charity or thrift shop, or even worse landfill, regift it to someone who you know will appreciate it.
If you do decide to going down the regifting route make sure it looks box-fresh and in tip top condition. The key that is to keep it in a dust-free and sun bleaching-free environment.
Make your Christmas gifts
Thanks to the likes of ETSY, YouTube Tutorial videos and Covid-19, more and more people are getting into home and handmade crafts. I’ve already confessed that I am a crocheter, and I’ve just starting making clay ornaments too, thanks to a YouTube tutorial.
Let me entertain you
Of course none of us knows whether we will be able spend Christmas with our family and friends, but if by some positive twist of fate we can get together with our nearest and dearest, don’t shoulder all the cost of hosting everyone. Go for the Pot Luck option.
Pot Luck is so called because guests are asked to bring with them a different, often homemade dish of food to the gathering. So if you go down that route, it instantly and drastically reduces your food bill for the Christmas period, especially if you entertain a lot. You can also ask people to bring their own drinks too, which these days people don’t mind doing.
One final thought…
As the Grinch says, Christmas doesn’t come in the boxes or packages. It’s not delivered by Amazon or FedEx (the Grinch didn’t say that). The gifts are the external manifestation of a feeling; and Christmas is a feeling and comes from within!