How to do Christmas on a budget
We understand the lead up to Christmas is a worrying time, with families under immense pressure to create the perfect day and fulfil everyone’s gift lists.
We want to help you prepare and budget, as well as find more affordable alternatives.
Money Saving Expert has pulled together this guide which covers everything from budgeting for the big day, creating affordable magical memories for children, to how to get budget-friendly perfume: www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/christmas-savings/
Here are our top five favourite tips:
1. Worried about being able to afford the big ticket items on your children’s wish lists?
Seek out good quality, second-hand items through charity shops or toy swap shops and local Facebook Marketplace groups.
Money Saving Expert has some tips on how to bag some bargains: www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/cheap-online-shopping-shopbots/
Sign up to Money Saving Expert’s weekly emails to find the best bargains: www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip/
2. Calculate your budget (see our free Budget Planner), and ask: "What can I afford to spend?"
Make a list and stick to it, to make sure you don’t go overboard. We all want the perfect Christmas, but not at the risk of getting into debt or not being able to afford your rent or bills.
Try starting saving early by putting a small amount of money aside each month.
3. Make a No Unnecessary Present Pact (NUPP) with family and friends
If you ‘feel guilt-tripped’ into buying presents for people, just be honest. Explain you want to cut back this year and focus on giving gifts to your children and close relatives. Chances are, with the current economic climate, those people may also want to cut back and don’t want to be the first to say so.
4. Secret Santa
This can be a fun and creative way for you to give one gift within a large group of friends or family, rather than buying everyone a present.
5. Make your gift meaningful
Instead of spending money on a gift, why not perform a good-will gesture? Offer to babysit, do someone’s household chores, spend some quality time with someone who is isolated, cook a nice meal, or treat someone.
Create special memories by making plans to spend a day or evening with someone and do an affordable activity, like a treat day or date night.
Or get creative and make something, such as soaps, candles, artwork, or knitted items.
Here is what we are doing to help families in our community through our associated charity work with Key Unlocking Futures:
1. Wade Hall Community Association and The Base on Broadfield is joining forces to provide children from our communities with a Christmas Eve bag filled with treats, Christmas presents and a new pair of pyjamas.
If you would like to donate new pyjamas, drop them off at The Base, Bannister Drive, Leyland, or The Place, Royal Avenue, Leyland by the middle of December.
Referrals for a Christmas Eve bag can only be made in person. Contact Joan on 0756144157 or Andrea on 07976358962 or 01772 422039.
2. If you want to show your support to others, South Ribble and Chorley women’s refuges will hold their Christmas Wish Tree Appeal. Details on this will be released soon.
Here are some more Lancashire-based resources and ideas to help you get ready for December:
1. Penwortham Care and Share - A clothes and toy bank at Penwortham Community Centre in Kingsfold on the last Tuesday of the month from 9am - noon.
Donations are always welcome, please ring Lindsey on 07763197615 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is supported by Penwortham Town Council.
2. Thrift shop at Wade Hall Community Shop, Royal Avenue, Leyland – Open Fridays from 12.30pm until 6.30pm. Warm soup and clothes stalls.
3 Tippy Toes Baby Bank donates good quality, second hand clothes, equipment, furniture and new toiletries to families. For more information visit www.tippytoesbabybank.co.uk
4. Lancashire County Council Holiday and Food (HAF) programme – activities and clubs running from 2 January to 5 January 2024: www.lancashire.gov.uk/children-education-families/school-holiday-activities/
Credit Unions/community banks
- Credit Unions offer easy saving and affordable loans.
They will only lend money to people who can afford to make the repayments. If they can’t lend to you, they might be able to provide or signpost you to other support, such as budget planning, benefits calculators and debt advice.
To find your local Credit Union, visit www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/
- Find your local baby bank here:www.netmums.com/local/baby-banks
- Find a car boot sale near you: www.findcarboot.co.uk/ or www.netmums.com/local/car-boot-sales
- General cost saving ideas: www.netmums.com/cost-of-living
- For more help and support, visit our Cost of Living Hub.
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