The stress that we put on ourselves to buy stuff, food and decorate everything has honestly become ridiculous.
Not to mention that most of us can’t afford all of it, even if it may seem that way but fear not, we have some awesome tips for those of us with big Holiday spirit and small budgets;
Set Up a Realistic Budget
Setting up a budget that is realistic in the sense that you can afford to eat, stay in your home, drive your car and basically - live normally, after the massive (and highly overrated) Christmas shopping, is the key to not going broke during the holiday season.
So how exactly do you do this?
First, you’ll have to determine your regular budget and or living expenses, because living is, well, expensive.
Now you’ll have to factor in when you get paid in December and when you will get paid in January and you’ll also need to take into account any bonuses, extra income or a 13th cheque.
Then comes the part where you set up a budget for gifts, events and all things Christmassy.
The tough part, however, is to stick to that budget like it’s your one and only life goal but that’s the only way to make it work.
What does cleaning have to do with saving money on Christmas?
Well considering how much clutter the world has come to accumulate, With the average household living in a home with two garages not even being able to use them for lack of space, I think the better question is just how much money can you make by selling all that stuff?
And the answer to that question is quite a bit!
A few years ago when my son was born, I missed the usual Spring Cleaning window, because frankly, I was just so exhausted.
But when Holiday season came ‘round, I was just about fed up with our over-cluttered house, and at the same time, we had decided that I wasn’t going back to work, so we had a financial dilemma as well.
This was the first year we sold some of our extra stuff to be able to afford Christmas presents.
It started with selling my old jewelry and it grew into an annual tradition of simplifying our home and our lives.
Go Minimal on Gifts
As a minimalist, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how little the gifts actually matter.
The biggest mistake you can make is to try and translate someone’s worth in presents because the truth is no amount of stuff will ever be enough.
Gifts are about the spirit of giving, and that doesn’t mean you leave it out altogether, instead, you simply buy some quality presents for a select few.
You would be surprised how much money you save by thinking quality over quantity.
As for the rest, we send personalized Christmas cards to the friends and family members that we don’t see that often and they love the personal touch so much that a bunch of them have started doing that too.
Shop Savings & Check Prices
Once you’ve decided who you are buying presents for you should brainstorm ideas for presents and once you’ve done that you can go online and look in local flyers for specials and ideas if you’re having trouble coming up with something.
Make sure you shop around to get the best price for whatever it is that you’re looking for, in other words, don’t go to the first and best toy shop and buy a bunch of random stuff with no plan and having done zero research on prices etc.
We usually buy most of our more expensive gifts online where they offer free shipping. It honestly makes it much easier
Do A Secret Santa Dinner Party
When our budget is especially tight, we do a secret Santa dinner, more specifically a potluck dinner, where we all contribute one or two dishes and we all buy a gift valued between $50 and $100, for example.
You can choose whether or not you want to draw names beforehand or at the party, I find it simpler to pick out names beforehand, then you don’t need to wreck your brain trying to think of something universal that everyone would at least like.
I love secret Santa Parties because it satisfies the need to give and to receive whilst also ensuring that you keep your spending in check.
Secret Santa is especially awesome for bigger families where it would cost you a fortune to buy for everyone and then everyone ‘has’ to buy for everyone and eventually you can’t even see the tree behind the mutant mountain of gifts.
Do DIY Decorations
Not only do DIY decorations make you feel all Christmassy but they’re also a great opportunity to bond with your kids, to add a personal touch to your Christmas decor and of course, to save a couple of bucks in the process.
What can you DIY exactly?
So basically, everything and anything your heart desires and your Christmas requires.
And the best news of all? Most of the DIYs you can find you don’t even need much for. So many Christmas DIYs are made of things you would already have on hand.
Implement Christmas Traditions
In the years since we’ve discovered minimalism (which is now about 4 years), Christmas traditions have naturally filled up the spaces of time that we used to dedicate to endlessly searching for, buying and wrapping gifts.
Most of those traditions revolve around baking, family outings and finding new places to see Christmas lights, and reading our favorite Christmas stories.
Throughout the years we actively tried out new traditions and we’ve quickly learned which ones work for us and which ones don’t.
So far we love camping out in our living room a few nights after reading stories or watching Christmas movies.
We also love our Elf on The Shelf pranks.
On the 23rd we take the kids to deliver boxes of their old toys and clothes that are still in good condition to the orphanage near our house.
Christmas eve dinner party along with a Christmas Eve box for each of the kids that contain a set of clothes for Christmas day, their favorite snack and a new blanket.
We now also do a piece of cake for breakfast on Christmas morning before opening presents.