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5 secrets to a budget-friendly Christmas

There’s no doubt about it: Christmas is an expensive time of year, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t break the bank.

If your financial situation is a little tighter than normal in 2020, consider the following ideas to make things a bit easier on yourself.

Set a spending limit for gifts

The people for whom we buy Christmas presents are usually the people we care about most. If we go Christmas shopping without a budget, it can be easy to lose track of the amount we’re spending because our desire to find a gift that the recipient loves can overwhelm our need to be thrifty.

With that in mind, make sure that you sit down and think about what you can truly afford before you head out shopping. Set a budget limit and stick to it no matter what. If you spy a gift that you think would be great but breaks your limit, resist the temptation to buy it. Most gift recipients are going to be happy no matter what you give them, so there’s no point leaving yourself in the red. 

Go in on a group gift

Let’s be honest, most of us simply have so much already. Christmas rolls around once a year on top of birthdays and other gift-giving occasions. Before you know it, we may end up with more than we know what to do with.

So, why not come up with a plan so that instead of receiving a small gift from every individual at your Christmas gathering, instead everyone pools their spend to buy one big gift for each person? In any case, the recipient will most likely prefer receiving “one big gift” that they really, really want instead of a bunch of smaller gifts that they may not be as excited about.

A lot of these smaller gifts end up being stashed away at home anyway and never used, but one big gift – especially if it’s something they’ve been wanting to buy but haven’t been able to afford it – can be far more useful. And this way, you’ll save money on your Christmas spending too.

Don’t be afraid to regift

Regifting is sometimes thought to be a dirty word at Christmas time, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We all recycle, right? Well, just think of regifting as the gift-giving version of recycling.

We’ve already pointed out in this article that many of us already have so much, and that with all the gift-giving occasions throughout the year, we probably end up with a lot of items that we never even open or use. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to regift an item that you’ve received to someone else. If you’re not getting any use out of it, maybe they can.

You could even “regift” something that’s important to you and thus share its value, such as a book that has inspired you or a painting that has brought you joy.

Buy and sell old items online

If you’re not keen on regifting but still have a bunch of unused items kicking around your home, consider selling them online to save up a few funds for your new round of purchases.

Many people head to websites such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay to find gifts come Christmas time, and you can take advantage of this by adding your own items for sale.

Alternatively, you could be one of the buyers, hunting for bargains online and finding fantastic Christmas presents for your loved ones without breaking the bank.

If you’re not familiar with buying and selling online, check out our introduction to Facebook Marketplace which was published in Active Retirees in September.

If you’re hosting, let people bring a dish

Many Active Retirees readers host Christmas celebrations for family and friends, and there can be a strong temptation to “do it all yourself”, whether out of a desire to be a good host or simply out of love for the family and friends you’re hosting.

While this is admirable, it can be a real drain on your budget if you’re up against it at the moment.

If your guests offer to bring a plate, let them! Most of the time this isn’t an empty offer – just as you want to come off as a generous host, guests want to feel generous too and would actually prefer to bring something along.

Even if the offers aren’t forthcoming, don’t be afraid to send out a text or an email asking guests to bring a dish. Sharing the load for Christmas lunch can do wonders for your budget.