It’s that time of year again folks – it is Christmas blog post time.
Christmas of course, is a different experience for us all and there are many people who do not celebrate this particular holiday. Even for the people that do finances can always be a thorn in the side especially within the chronic illness community. Many chronically ill people are not able to work, and even if they do it is not necessarily full time, therefore having excess funds to spend on Christmas is a big ask.
This doesn’t mean however, we shouldn’t be able to enjoy the holidays if that is what we choose to do. So today I thought I would share with you my top tips on how to celebrate Christmas when on a budget.
- Set your limit – My first tip when it comes to gift buying is to set a present limit with your friends and family. By telling your loved ones you have a limit this year you are giving them a chance to choose if they too want to match your limit so there are no awkward feelings when the swap comes. Of course, people may still choose to spend more on you, but that is their choice, you are under no obligation to do the same. Set your price point for each person and stick to it.
- Make gifts – If spending significant money is too much of an ask, then why not think about making a gift instead. You could buy a batch of crafting materials relatively cheap and make everyone the same gift, altering it slightly to match people’s individual personalities. Handmade gifts are a lovely way to express kindness to your loved ones, and are unique to you. For low cost/low energy gift ideas for others check my previous blog here.
- Send e-cards – Writing out Christmas cards can be a laborious task for any person and they can be costly – especially if you are posting them out. Nowadays, there are many websites where you can create e-cards, many for free – all you need to do is email them.
- Organise a switch and swap – Do you feel sick of using the same ideas every year for your décor? Then one idea would be to switch and swap with others whereby you give them an item (or multiple items) that you no longer want in return for an item or items they no longer want. You could totally transform your winter wonderland without having to spend a single penny. (This is also an idea you can use with unwanted presents.)
- Buy reusable items – If you really need to make purchases always look to buy items that can be used year on year. Whilst this may get boring it means you are doing your bit for the planet, as well as your bit for your bank account.
- Take to discount stores/charity shops – Don’t always believe you need to go to big branded shops or websites to buy ‘quality’ items – they are many beautiful, well-made and more importantly bargain items for Christmas in discount and/or charity shops.
- Plan your meals – Although Christmas day is indeed one day, there are 12 days of Christmas and therefore an added pressure to splurge out on many festive favourites. With this said there is no set rule to say you need to eat this on Christmas day or that on New Years Eve – think what is realistic for you. Maybe eating your normal meals with one or two added treats thrown in is more appropriate, and by planning your meals you are less likely to go off course when it comes to food shopping.
- Choose cheaper brands – Depending where you are in the world there are now many ‘cheaper’ supermarkets around. Don’t be lured in by the luxurious adverts on TV, there are many tasty treats of value own products that will hit the spot just as much.
- Make your own – One of the things I am always tempted by at Christmas time is all the sweet treats. Predominately cakes, cookies, desserts – trust me the list goes on. These bought individually however, are extremely pricey. So why not make your own, the raw ingredients will be cheaper and will probably go further, and it is a great bit of fun to have along the way.
Other Things to Consider
- Things to do – Finding activities to do at Christmas is exhausting for chronic illness sufferers anyway, finding low cost activities can be even harder. Check out my previous post here on my top 5 Christmas Activities for Chronic Illness Warriors. For Christmas film ideas why not read my suggestions here.
My final and probably most important tip about spending Christmas on a budget is to be honest not only to others, but yourself too. Evaluate your circumstances and remember Christmas itself is one day. The season is about so much more than money or possessions, it is about being kind, and that includes being kind to yourself.
What tips can you offer to people on a budget this year? How will you be spending the festive season?
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