Three Things To Do Now To Have Christmas On the Cheap
Chilly weather may have only just set in, but before you know it, Christmas will be here. If you’re like me and many other Britons, splashing out just isn’t in the budget. Our economy is uncertain, rising unemployment is looming, child benefit cuts are in the offing and frankly, I’m thrifty even when times are good. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some great tips for Christmas on the cheap that will give you a joyous holiday with a modest price tag.
Here are some ideas for merry making that won’t break the bank:
#1 Cheap Jolly Decor
I love cheery decor that I can put up in early December and enjoy all year through to the next, but it seems as if things get more expensive each year. One great way to make enchanting decorations is to go on a nature walk and gather free materials to get you started. Pine cones are great – grab up 20 or so on a walk and bring them home. This will take you through two projects. Select a pretty bowl and see how many pine cones you’ll need to make a nice little stack. Once you’ve decided, spray paint the cones gold, silver or festive holiday colors. Allow to dry thoroughly and stack in the bowl. This makes a great centerpiece or side table decoration.
With the rest of your cones, make scented fireplace cones. You’ll need cinnamon oil and cinnamon sticks (or you can make do with sprinkle cinnamon) and a large ziploc bag or a few carrier bags. Put the pine cones in the plastic bag, sprinkle with essential oils and then toss in powdered cinnamon or sticks. Toss the bag around to spread it and then tie it up tight and leave them to soak up the aromas for 3-4 days. Each time you build a fire, toss a scented cone on to spread a cheery scent throughout your house. Leave the unused ones on your mantle or hearth for a lovely scent.
#2 Cheap Holiday Cards & Postage
Holiday cards are a joy to receive but can be very expensive to purchase – particularly if you want quality cards. I like the idea of sending out photo cards, but even from the supermarket, these are just too costly. Instead, consider making your own. If you’ve no spare time, you can download free templates and print them at home. If you have children – put them to work. I tell my son if he doesn’t make cards, he doesn’t get presents. I simply give him a stack of cardstock and let him decorate how he wants, personalized to each family member.
I use a recent fave family photo and get cheap copies made (or you can print them at home if you have a photo quality printer) and include a photo with the homemade card. We all sign the cards and they’re ready to go. I always get a lot of compliments on my son’s artwork and it feels very personal to the recipients. As a bonus, if you’re on benefits, you can get discount stamps to mail your holiday cards for 36p or 46p. This saves you 14p per card. You must be on pension credit, employment and support allowance or incapacity benefit to buy these stamps from the Royal Mail. You may as well buy a few extra to save on postage throughout the year as well!
#3 Cheap Gifts for All
If you’ve little money and no time, consider cheap but fun gifts like those featured on Amazon’s cheap Christmas gift page. Another great place is to browse charity shops in person or online - Oxfam has an online shop that’s loaded with great deals. My hubby collects movie memorabilia and I can always find good deals on Oxfam. My mum-in-law collects antique teacups and my sister old dolls. These all lend themselves to checking charity shops and carboot sales for cheap but much-appreciated finds. One of the great things about on-line shopping like this is that I spend less time out in the holiday madness scrambling for gifts rather than spending my holiday time with my loved ones – which is what the holiday should be about!
For my son, I keep an eye out for special buys at Aldi to get amazingly great deals. I also look at the charity shops for gently used toys he may like and I look for larger items used – like our table tennis set. I’ve explained to him that if I can get stuff used, there’s no need to buy it new and that he’ll benefit from my scrimping. I also make coupon books for my hubby, parents and son. I give out coupons for things I do infrequently (like foot and back rubs for my hubby, afternoon tea with my mum, watching football with my dad and playing video games with my son.) This may sound corny but they always cash them in! You can sign up for a free trial at American Greetings and print professional looking coupon books.
If you’re worried about affording the holidays, check out these other tips for pulling together some extra cash for Christmas. Also think how much your PPI refund could help take a dent out of the cost of the holiday and its requisite gift giving. With PPI refunds averaging £2,750 or more, this could make the difference between a mediocre Christmas and an all-out celebration. Contact Empire Claims as soon as possible to get your PPI claim started now – the sooner you claim, the sooner you’ll have pounds in your pocket!
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