ChristmasYou know what it’s like. You’re sitting on the beach in the middle of August sipping a cold beer, and the last thing you can think about is spending Christmas in North Wales. Fact is, in these times of economic difficulties, planning early can save disappointment later in the day when it comes to Christmas gifts, presents & entertaining! Of course, Christmas is an expensive time of the year, but this guide is designed to make things a little easier for you!

Top 10 Tips for a Cheap Christmas!

1. Plan Early – Things like cards, decorations etc. are always cheap just after Christmas. Buy these in January to get mega savings.

2. Set a Limit on Spending – Christmas can easily run away with spending on presents. Set a “maximum” price on gifts, that way children know what they can and can’t have. Feeling daring? Why not introduce spending limits with spouses? It’s sounds penny pinching, but it’ll make life easier and avoid any festive awkward conversations when one you get a present that’s clearly more expensive than the one you’ve received.

3. Grow Your Own Veg – What better way to save money at Christmas than by growing your own veg? It’s simple, and any patch of ground or allotment can accommodate vegetables, you’ll have fun as well as get fit. Feeling ruthless? Well you could rear your own turkey, but those of a weak stomach may not choose to when the turkey becomes a family pet.

4. Make Your Own Presents – Instead of getting those jams, pickles & chutneys from high street stores at over-inflated prices, why not spend an afternoon making your own? There’s hundreds of recipes, and it’s a good way to make gifts, especially “unexpected” gifts!

5. Buy in bulk – Christmas is a lot easier when there’s a bunch of you, and it can be cheaper as well. Why not get two families together for Christmas dinner and share a turkey? Or even a secret Santa scheme?

6. Skimp on wrapping paper – this can be a huge money drain, serving very little purpose, so instead put obvious presents (bottles of wine etc.) in bags (which are cheaper in the long run). Presents that need wrapping should stick to paper or tissue, spray-painted, with a tidy ribbon or bow.

7. Deck the halls with paper chains – Remember in school on the run up to Christmas when you used to decorate the classroom with brightly coloured card in paper chains? Why not do the same for your tree? Card is relatively cheap and will go a long way.

8. Don’t Send Christmas Cards – or, if you must, send e-cards, ones you make yourself or ones bought in January the previous year.

9. Use Nature – Decorate your house with flowers from the garden. Preserved fruit & potpourri can make for pretty decorations.

10. Brightly Coloured Useful Presents Can Be Cheap – Get a notebook for a friend, or a brightly coloured diary, not only are they cheap, they can help unlock a new interest.

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“Christmas” by www.flickr.com/photos/oufoufsworld and “Christmas tree recycling” by www.flickr.com/photos/wiredfornoise

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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