Have a Merry, Low-Budget, Christmas This Year!

The holidays are approaching and I’m cool as a cucumber. In years past, I stressed about having enough money for gifts, decorations, food, you name it and I was anxious about it. Last year, I decided that my days of worrying about the holidays were over. Everyone on my gift list got a handmade present, I reused old decorations and through a potluck dinner. Follow these tips for the holidays and you, too, can have a relaxing Christmas full of joy rather than angst.

  • Decorations
  • Christmas decorating doesn’t have to break the bank. Recycle decorations from last year or make new ones out of things you have around the house. Popcorn garlands add a festive touch to your tree, stockings are simply made with felt, glue and yarn and wreaths can be redecorated for the season. If you make decorations this year, put them in a box or tote and use them again next year; you’ll save even more money!

  • Dinner
  • Rather than spending hundreds of dollars to feed your entire extended family, host a potluck dinner. Provide the main course, whether it’s turkey, ham, duck or roast, and ask everyone to bring a side or dessert to share. It may sound tacky but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your family jumps on board.

  • Plan a Gift Budget
  • Whether you’re buying for 1 or 100, create a gift list and set a budget for each person. You aren’t going to want to buy as elaborate a gift for your neighbor as you will for your parents so plan accordingly. Most importantly, stick to the budget you create! Make the most of coupons and sales to make your money stretch farther. It can be tempting to pick up that one extra item but stop yourself. There’s a reason that you made a list!

  • Make Your Own Gifts
  • Making gifts is not only cheaper, it’s more personal. Are you a great baker? Do you have a favorite crafty pastime? Make small gifts for everyone on your list, package them beautifully and watch your friends and family enjoy what you’ve made. I love to crochet so last year I made scarves for all of my cold weather relatives. Those scarves were the hit of the party and only cost me a grand total of about $30!

  • Comparison Shop
  • Even if you have an unlimited budget, a good bargain is hard to pass up. If you’re purchasing a game system for your child, for instance, look at several stores for the best deal. You may even find a store offering a gaming bundle complete with system, games and accessories.

Equating a budget holiday with a cheap holiday is all in your head. You can still have a great Christmas even if it’s a frugal one. The holidays are about good times with friends and family, not how expensive a gift you can give or how expensively decked out your home is. Try your hand at a low-budget Christmas this year. I think you’ll be impressed with how well it turns out!

Photo credits: christmas tree by Laura Bittner/flickr; Erster Weihnachtsfeiertag by Theresa N/flickr; Sales Bags by I See Modern Britain/flickr.

Mary Blanchard is a self diagnosed coupon addict! She loves to find the best deals, share her advice and investigate options. As an addict, she provides information for other addicts or just those who want to find the best buy for their dollar. One of her favorite sites to shop around for deals is the couponcroc.co.uk in the UK, check them out to see why.

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