Single Parent Guide to Christmas on a Budget
It’s that time of year when we start to worry about money, start calculating the cost of Christmas, panicking about presents and perhaps spending more than we have. Red letters aren’t a brilliant start to the New Year so how can we manage our money better?
First and foremost, make a list. List the presents that you need to buy and the cost. Cut out people if they will understand that you don’t have much money at the moment.
Make a spending limit, either a total or an individual maximum for each person. And then stick to it. Don’t be tempted with extra bits and bobs unless they are for the children’s stockings. Keep your list with you at all times. Include the cost of cards and wrapping paper, a tree if you buy one and make a separate list for food. Shops and supermarkets tell you there are so many things that you cannot do without for a happy family Christmas. It’s a lie.
Families are what make Christmas, not things
Don’t be tempted to use loans or catalogues if you can help it. If you absolutely must then check out interest rates on repayments, look at lots of companies and find the best deal.
Buy for a whole family instead of individual presents. If you need to get something for your brother/sister and their children, get them a ‘family’ present ie: A board game, a set of mugs, an experience from a discount experience website or a homemade hamper.
People love home-made gifts. Have you ever made cookies or jam/chutney, fudge or chocolate truffles? Cards, wrapping paper and tags? Written poems then framed them? Grown bulbs or collected bundles of holly and wrapped them with a red velvet bow? Well, now is the time to give it a go! Your children will enjoy it and your friends and family will think you are a domestic god/goddess!
Start cutting back now. Choose cheaper meals. Walk into town rather than taking the bus. Buy food stamps or save your points and coupons. Pound shops are great for putting stockings or little parcels together and charity shop shopping benefits your purse and makes you feel good about buying.
Do you have to have turkey and Christmas cake? It doesn’t make much difference if you have a chicken and it’s cheaper. The Christmas cake often isn’t the children’s favourite; they might prefer a chocolate swiss roll. Stick a sprig of holly on the top. Make your own new traditions.
Enjoy the time with your children. Having time is often more valuable than trying to create a perfect experience. Talk to them about budgets and get them involved in the budgeting and shopping and recipe ideas and cooking and making.