At this time of year, having a tight budget is something that hangs above the heads of many, and it can be overwhelming and daunting. Having a restricted budget doesn’t mean you cannot celebrate Yule to the fullest, and it doesn’t mean it will be any less amazing as it is for those who don’t need to worry about money.
Making a list, checking it twice…
The very first thing I would suggest is that you create a list of who you need to get gifts for. Next look through the list and see if there is anyone who you buy gifts for, but think you’d rather use that money elsewhere? Talk to that person and see if they wouldn’t mind skipping the gift exchange this year…. you may find that they are in the same boat as you but didn’t have the courage to ask. Once you have gone through the list and crossed off those you don’t “need” to buy gifts for, go through the list again and see who you could make gifts for – making gifts is fun and will save you money in the long run.
Cards and Wrapping Paper
Do you spend a great deal of money on cards, postage and wrapping paper every year? I know I do… Why not consider not sending a traditional card and consider making an E-Card? There are lots of programs online that you can use to create your very own e-cards. Pizap.com and Picmonkey.com are the ones I use to make all the images for RoaRW, and they are the ones I will be using to send e-cards to my worldwide friends. Like many people, I like to sit and create fancy wrapped presents with lovely paper and adornments. Instead of spending $5 on a roll of fancy gift wrap, consider other means. You can go to a $1 shop and buy a roll of paper, yes, its quality is not as good as a $5 roll, but when you think it’s going to be thrown into a recycling box… consider saving yourself the extra dosh. You could also think of other ways of wrapping gifts. A gift bag can be reused, and you can buy packs with different sizes. You could even consider making your own wrapping paper… do you have children? You can buy rolls of plan paper and have your children decorate it. It’s a lovely touch. I have used lining paper (for walls) and stamps and doodles. I keep any boxes and packaging throughout the year like tissue paper, bubble wrap and even boxes. This helps me cut down on waste I throw away, and it saves me money come Yuletide.
Decorating the home and tree, this is a wonderful part of this time of year, and if you have kids, it’s kind of essential, but instead of going out and buying expensive baubles and do-dads, get a pack of beads, some string and other crafting materials and have a crafting day with your children, and let them make decorations for your home. It is fun and will keep your witchlings occupied for a little while. I am making a “paper chain” out of old yarn that I am crocheting into strips, this uses the old scraps of yarn I have, and it is going to last longer than paper or foil. I have also use old scraps of yarn and thread to make a wrapped effect around crystals for decorations.
Charity Shops and Thrift Stores
There are plenty of ways you can save money when it comes to the holiday season, and some of them are so very simple they often get overlooked. If you have a tight budget. If you need to buy a gift, why not look in charity shops, you can get some real treasures there, all you need to do is look.
If you do go to a charity shop or thrift store, always be sure to cleanse the items.
One thing that is more apparent this year is how much energy is going to cost, so we need to be a little wiser with what we do over the yule period regarding lighting, and other electrical things. You can get energy saving light bulbs now, and there are also energy saving Christmas lights available, and they can save you a pretty penny. If you have a house full of people, consider turning the heating down a little. People create heat, and with a lot of people, you don’t need the heating high. Also, think about the lights you have on in your home? Do you need them all on? Do you need to have the mains light and a lamp on? If you are not in a particular room, switch the light off when you leave it.
Finance, Credit Cards, and Money. Oh my!
As easy as it is to put everything on your credit card, or have a finance program, you end up paying far more because of interest. If you have a realistic budget and realistic goals, you need to decide what you need to buy against what you can afford. I know this is hard in this day and age, when kids want the latest gadget, or the latest game system and they are quite expensive, there are places where you can buy refurbished and second-hand devices that are not as expensive as brand new. If you don’t have the funds available right away, make sure you can pay it off within the following month, that way you will avoid paying the interest on the item.