Preparing for Christmas the Frugal Way
Christmas is that time of year when we all look forward to meeting up with family and friends, enjoying good food, fellowship and laughs in a relaxing festive atmosphere. It’s a jolly good time. Perhaps one of the drawbacks though of Christmas is the expense. Who wants to pay a whole lot? Certainly not me and perhaps not you too. If we are organised and prepared we can then get to enjoy all without paying out too much. So let us look at a number of ways that we could reduce the expense and still have a festive time.
That Christmas Smell – Somehow there are certain scents that remind us of that festive time of year. Cinnamon, pine cones, cloves, oranges and…….wait! Stop there! Those are items we can easily get and use to scent our homes. There are major companies who have commercially prepared these in the form of candles, essential oils or sprays. But they just cost too much!
What can we do? Well, we can prepare them ourselves. You can go to a park or other recreational area and harvest pine cones which just fall off the trees. These can be decorated to give that look and feel and that amazing smell. You can also poke holes in oranges, insert cloves in and leave them to give off the aroma naturally. Another useful tip to do at Christmas time is to keep orange peels, cinnamon, and cloves in a saucepan with water. Allow it to boil gently and remove from heat. This glorious aroma will permeate your home and give the feeling of Christmas.
Christmas pudding – A lovely Christmas pudding is one of the things we all look forward to at Christmas time. Shop-bought ones are quite expensive, whereas they are not expensive to make at home. We can avoid some of the expense with careful planning. For one, try to prepare or buy your fruits months ahead of time. Around Christmas time there is a hike in the price of raisins, prunes, and mixed fruits. The supermarket giants know there will be a surge in demand for these products so since their main aim is to make as much profit as possible, they hike the prices. Do not be caught every year. Buy them in advance, store them securely and safely and use them at Christmas time at a fraction of the cost. You can also reduce the cost by making your own mixed peel. If you are one of those who think you cant possibly make your own Christmas pudding, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an amazing, easy to make Jamaican Christmas cake to die for! My mouth is watering now just thinking about it!
Gift Giving – Well you know me. If I can get something cheaper, I don’t see why I should pay more. I’m sure you know as well that gifts are expensive at Christmas time. What I do is to buy in the sales, buy throughout the year and search for bargains. Don’t get me wrong. You must ensure that the gift does not look old, tattered or used. Do not leave gift shopping for last minute. The longer you leave it, the more expensive things are and the more anxious and flustered you feel. Read this post about how we start preparing for our amazing Christmas months in advance.
If you agree with your co-workers to exchange gifts with the co-workers, ensure everyone agrees on a price before you buy something expensive and get something mediocre. I know what that feels like. And it is not a good feeling. Imagine purchasing a chandelier for someone and receiving a handkerchief in return! Do avoid the heartache if you can.
Christmas Decorations – We can’t deny it, Christmas decorations just add to the atmosphere of Christmas. They too can be expensive. But guess what? I have sussed that too. Because they are so delicate and difficult to store, shop and large departmental stores would rather sell them cheap at the end of the season, than try to store them, fail and then having to throw them out. So at the end of the season is when I buy Christmas decorations. What you must do though is to store them at home in an area where you go infrequently so they are not smashed and damaged. That way they will be good as new to use at Christmas time but at a fraction of the cost of new decorations.
A good family tradition is for each member to be creative and make at least one decoration for the tree or the home. This brings back pleasant memories when the tree is being put up and everyone reminds the others of when and how they made each particular piece.
The Food – Well what is Christmas without lots of food? ‘Nothing’ I hear you say. To an extent, I agree. However one of the things many people do at this festive time of the year is to buy a lot of food and then waste a lot. Just because it is Christmas does not give us license to spend more than we have to on food, nor to buy too much food, nor to eat too much food and certainly not to waste food. Some buy a big turkey every Christmas, knowing full well, it will not all be eaten. What a waste! And certainly, that is not an attribute of a responsible human being. It’s better to buy a turkey crown (just the top bit) if you want turkey at the Christmas table but you don not have a large family.
Promise yourself, for the next Christmases not to spend more than is necessary on food and certainly not to be a glutton and over eat. Think of someone, or some family in need and share your Christmas feast with them. That’s the responsible thing to do. Giving back is a big part of being frugal, and not just at Christmas either.
Get in the habit of packaging and freezing and left over food that can be used at a later date after Christmas. I’m sure you know that slices of turkey breast meat make lovely sandwiches, pasta bake, and even soups. If you search Pinterest you will find lots of recipes to make with left over turkey and other meat. Just make sure it is properly, cooled, packaged and frozen first.
So there you have it. Some ideas I hope you will use of how to make the most of your money and continue your frugal ways even though it is Christmas time. Have a great one. I will share with you how my next Christmas goes.