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BY EURIDICE NZIOKA,21ST DEC 2017-Christmas season comes as a joy to many families across the world for it is time for getting together as well as Merry making.But not all have an opportunity to enjoy this season due to limited financial resources a move that makes what was to be a happy moment turn out to be dull.
Here are ways that can help in planing on a lean budget and still enjoy the Christmas and new year festivities.
- Work out how much you want to spend on people for presents and include decorations, food, and whatever else you think you will need.
- Stick to your budget – it’s the indicator of what you can and cannot afford.
Talk to family about the costs and gifts. Sit down and make decisions about limits on gifts. This is especially important in large families where the costs of buying a gift for every member of the family can soon add up. Seek agreement that you’ll only spend so much per person.
- If you’re really strapped, a decision to only give gifts to the children can sometimes ease budget constraints.
- One way to spend less on presents is to have each family member bring one present and then to Play the “Goofy Gift Exchange” Christmas Game or Play Santa’s Present.
- Remind everyone that thoughtfully chosen gifts are more important than expensive ones.
- Make a nice meal, not an expensive one. Look at old cookbook recipes for thrifty Christmas cooking.
- Make homemade gifts from recycled and inexpensive items.
- Don’t buy any new decorations and either use a live tree in a planter from your garden, or an artificial tree kept in your storage.
Take advantage of sales during the year. Sales closer to Christmas can be worth marking on your calendar, such as end-of-summer sales, sales after Thanksgiving, etc.
- Take advantage of the post-Christmas sales to start buying gifts, cards, wrapping paper, decorations, tableware, etc., for next Christmas. Be sure to put these somewhere that they’re easier to find and use when Christmas comes around.
- Keep a list of whose gifts you’ve already purchased, so that you don’t double up on gifts.
Cut out unnecessary items. There are a lot of items that aren’t needed and are unnecessary waste at Christmas time. Save your money and finite resources by not including them in your Christmas celebrations. Examples include:
- Ribbons, bows, fancy tape, stickers, etc., are usually tossed away.
- Plastic tablecloths with Christmas designs. Either use plain colored tablecloths from your linen cupboard, or go without.
- Don’t spend massive amounts of money on outside lights, keep it to a minimum and inside lights should be left off at all times when no-one is in the room, this saves on energy bills.
Consider starting a budget straight after Christmas for future years. Start saving early, put money into a savings account each month or week and stick to it. Doing this will give you a lump sum to spend in December rather than scraping together money. Budget well – this should include food, decorations, presents and anything else you may buy at Christmas.