A growing number of Australians believe that it’s about time for people to stop feeling pressured about gift-giving. This year, they’re reducing the budget they’re allotting for presents and are opting to celebrate the Christmas season for what it’s truly about.
You can still have a fun Christmas even if you haven’t saved a lot of money for Christmas shopping. After all, how you spend the holiday with your loved ones can be more memorable than any of the gift they might receive.
In this article, we’ll share tips on how you can enjoy Christmas without spending too much.
How Can I Be Frugal This Christmas?
Having a frugal Christmas requires deliberate steps. These two points will help you develop the right mindset:
Change your focus and be honest about your financial status.
This season can be daunting if you plan the holiday around what to send to people, how to decorate the house, or what to serve on Christmas eve or day. Shift the basis of joy from “presents” to “presence,” especially within your immediate household.
You may have to set expectations early and let the rest of your family know if Christmas time would be more low-key than how it was the past year or the years before due to your current financial circumstances.
Assure them, particularly the kids, that you love and value them even if you won’t be able to buy extravagant Christmas gifts this time. Explain that your decision is not due to misbehaviour or anything they’ve done.
Living frugally to save up enough Christmas money can start as early as January. Don’t panic-buy at the last minute. Start saving money as early as possible and note down your expected expenses, from food to gifts. Every amount you set aside counts. You’ll find numerous articles on the web about different ways to save.
Determine the budget you can allot for these, and adjust limits or choice of purchases every time you notice that you’re going above your budget.
Also, remember that you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone. It’s enough to reserve presents for your immediate family or your tightest circle.
How Can People Afford Christmas on a Tight Budget?
To stretch your funds for a frugal Christmas, check what items you already have at home. Think of ways you can best reuse or enhance them for the holidays.
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Create your gifts.
Why not make a personalised homemade gift? From baked goods and body care products to gadget accessories, planters, blankets, and more—there are a lot of wonderful things you can make that are related to a loved one’s hobbies or interests. There are also a plethora of reasonably priced kits available on Amazon. These offer different materials you can use for great and easy DIY Christmas gifts for multiple recipients!
Recycle old wrapping paper.
By using leftover gift paper or wraps that you’ve kept from the gifts you got last Christmas, you won’t only save money but also help conserve trees. You can also explore using more eco-friendly gift packaging options, such as recycled paper products. You can find many videos showing wrapping styles using plain brown paper or old newspapers.
Use simple or second-hand decor.
Be a frugal decorator: cut up little paper snowflakes, form popped corn kernel garlands, use old Christmas cards, and up-cycle the trimmings you used in the previous years. Get foliage and greenery from your garden to make a wreath or table decor. You can also opt to search for slightly used trinkets at a second-hand store, if you still prefer to shop.
Go for pot-luck for lunches and dinners.
For hosting frugal Christmas meal, it’s best to ask people to bring food. Make the activity easy on yourself by assigning tasks, like setting the table, assisting kids, and cleaning up after the meal. You can also scout for reasonably priced suppliers from whom you can take out meals.
To save money is to consider serving less expensive meat, such as roasted chicken, instead of glazed ham or stuffed turkey. Prepare iced tea and other non-alcoholic fruit-based beverages instead of wine, as the prices of alcoholic beverages usually jump during the holidays.
Another saving tip: when preparing salads, pick vegetables that are in season. You can also buy them frozen or canned. Just choose products with low salt and no seasonings and sauces, which may be high in calories and sodium.
What is the 3-4-5 Gift Rule for Christmas?
Another way that can help families observe a frugal Christmas is to apply the 3-4-5 rule for kids’ Christmas gifts. Children develop a deeper appreciation of what they receive when they get a limited number of gifts.
Under the basic “3 Gifts” rule, parents can set one present per category.
Something they want
You can offer a present that’s on your child’s wish list, like toys, electronics, or a new art set.
Something they need
You can provide useful items, such as new beddings, a desk or desk chair, a backpack, or sports gear. You can pick products that are related to a popular superhero or other characters that your child adores.
Something to read
Besides a physical book, you can provide your kid with a present they can learn from. This can include a subscription to a magazine for children or a crafting or building kit that would require them to read and follow instructions.
Another category is a present they can wear. This is included in the “4 Gifts” rule. This can be similar to the “need” gift (socks, underwear, pyjamas, umbrellas, coat, or shoes), but you can opt to treat it as a separate item. Cologne, jewellery, watches, headphones, or wallets and purses are other examples of “to wear” gifts.
Meanwhile, the “5 Gifts” rule further adds to the four categories. It could be somewhere to go (such as tickets to a sports event or amusement park, a beach or camping trip), a present to share (things that can be enjoyed by the whole family together), or a “from Santa” offering.
What if I Can’t Afford Christmas Gifts?
If you’re in deep financial trouble, you can be upfront about not being able to provide any gift at all this Christmas. You can graciously suggest that your family skip gift-giving this year, especially considering the current economic situation across the world.
Let your kids’ grandparents, aunts, and uncles know that your decision to observe a frugal Christmas isn’t due to what they’ve done. Once you’ve shared your decision, keep your word and refuse gifts from anyone. You may want to recommend an alternative activity to replace gift-giving, such as hosting a frugal Christmas brunch or having other ways to bond together at home.
Other great frugal Christmas ideas to show love to your family and friends that won’t cost you any money is to give of your time or service. You can make “coupons,” offering to babysit your best friends’ or relatives’ children or allowing your teen a day off from their chores. You can take your spouse or children to a public park for a morning or late afternoon stroll. Find a way to visit (if circumstances will allow) or set up a video call with distant relatives. You can also give loved ones items you’ve made or grown for the family, like food, herbs or potted plants from your garden.
What Are Some Cheap Christmas Gifts I Can Buy?
Here are some frugal gift ideas to consider when looking for budget-friendly items for the special people in your life. Most of these Christmas gift ideas from Amazon are below $50:
For family bonding
For gadget lovers
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on feasts and presents to make Christmas a memorable season. With thoughtfulness, creativity, and effort, you can still keep the holiday spirit alive even while still having frugal Christmas. And remember: it’s how time—not how much money—is spent that matters.