Celebrate Christmas on a budget

Christmas is a time of joy, a time to spend with family and friends … but, increasingly, it seems like it’s a time just to spend!

There are plenty of practical ways to stretch the Christmas dollars to ensure the Grinch is kept at bay! Below are just a few suggestions.

Christmas gift ideas and decorations on a budget

Decorations and gifts needn’t be expensive. A short walk outside can deliver a wealth of tree branches and pinecones that can be spray-painted gold or silver and used as decorations. There are also plenty of inexpensive but thoughtful gifts that can take the place of store bought presents: handmade memory books, handmade charm bracelets, a locket with a photo, a thoughtful book that the recipient has always wanted … the list of inexpensive gifts really is inexhaustible, as long as you put the thought in first.

When you do buy, consider buying online

You don’t have to forsake brand name gifts completely, but do try to go online for your shopping. Apart from the convenience and ability to compare prices quickly and easily, online shopping is also generally the most cost-effective way to buy your gifts.

Online retailers often offer prices that bricks and mortar retailers just can’t match, plus when you add in promotions like coupons and free delivery specials, the price difference grows even more.

The only caveat is to allow for delivery time. This means you need to plan ahead and be a little bit more organised when deciding to do your Christmas shopping.

Buy gifts for fewer people

Be quite strict on who makes the ‘naughty or nice’ Christmas gift giving list. Do distant aunts and uncles really need another $10 gift that doesn’t do much more than fill their stocking?

In fact, many families have a rule to only buy a gift for one other person, or only for children under the age of 12. You can even get your family and friends to participate in Kris Kringle! These ideas can help you save some money that could come in handy in the New Year.

Develop a gift budget

By developing a budget, and sticking to it, you greatly enhance your chances of making it through Christmas without financially imploding. Simple planning and discipline will virtually guarantee you spend less.

Hampers – are they worth it?

Many families elect to pay a set fee throughout the year in return for having a hamper full of edible goodies delivered to them around Christmas. Because these are regular smaller payments throughout the year, it can almost seem that the huge hamper that arrives stuffed with food and snacks is virtually “free”. But be careful – many times, simply shopping at the bigger retailers and taking advantage of their catalogue specials can be cheaper.

By following these few simple tips, and also being on the lookout for other ways to trim your expenses, you can ensure that your family can enjoy a fun, joy-filled Christmas – no matter your budget!

For many families, Christmas is another stress on an already tight budget, especially if the main breadwinner of the family was injured or unable to work due to a serious illness or injury. Real Income Protection Insurance could help in making sure that your family can still afford to celebrate Christmas – and keep the smile on your children’s faces on Christmas morning, which is the best present a parent could wish for!

This is general information and does not take account of your financial situation.

Real Insurance is an award-winning provider of income insurance.

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