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10 Budgeting Tips For A Magical Family Christmas

10 Budgeting Tips For A Magical Family Christmas

Christmas is an expensive time of the year, and even though we know it is coming, most of us don’t budget for this costly time.

So, if money is tight, here are some cost-effective tips to have an amazing Christmas without breaking the bank.

1. Stir your way to a tasty Christmas

Forget about buying an expensive Christmas cake. Get the family together and have a ‘stir up Sunday’. Traditionally the last Sunday before Advent is the time when you get your ingredients together and make Christmas puddings and cake.

Even if you are no good in the kitchen, making a delicious Christmas cake is not difficult and there are lots of recipes you can use. Personally, we use a family recipe handed down for generations. If you don’t have one yourself, there is no better time to create one!

2. Make delicious yet budget tree decorations

Gingerbread decorations

    While you are in the kitchen, why not make some Gingerbread decorations for your tree. Bake some tasty Gingerbread using some Christmas cutters. Ice them and ensure you leave a hole at the top to tie a ribbon through to hang from your tree.

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    3. Give the gift of your time

    Reduce amounts of expensive presents by giving some of yourself this Christmas. Consider making personal gift vouchers giving a massage, cooking a nice dinner for two or even completing the housework or gardening for two weeks.

    It makes for a personal gift for your significant other, for friends and family. Give whatever skills you may have, from repairing their computer to babysitting, so they can have a night out.

    You can be sure that the vouchers will be much appreciated when they are cashed in!

    Budget gifts - give a check book of your time

      4. Set up a Christmas cupboard

      Set aside some space in a cupboard (out of the reach of prying children’s eyes, if necessary). You can use this to put aside items for Christmas. Look out for sales and bargains during the year (January and end of season sales) and put away in the store cupboard items, a little at a time.

      If you pop a jar of cranberry sauce, or dried fruit for your cake as you do your weekly shopping, you will hardly notice the cost and will save a fortune at the end of the year and this lets you stay within your budget!

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      5. Don’t go crazy with your Turkey

      You may feel that the Turkey needs to be the most expensive one in the shop, expensive means best doesn’t it?

      Well, you may be surprised, in numerous taste tests people have not been able to tell the difference between the most expensive and slightly cheaper budget turkeys.

      Budget turkey

        Also, unless you want to be enjoying Turkey curry well into January, don’t buy a massive bird if there are only a few of you dining! Remember, the shops will only close for a day and you will not run out of food!

        6. Go secret Santa…

        If you have friends and family coming for Christmas, buying presents for everyone can become massively expensive. Why not suggest a ‘secret Santa’ where you set a price limit (£10 for example) and ask everyone to be creative.

        You draw names for who you will be buying for before the big day and keep it all a secret.  Anonymity can lead to some zany and fun gift selections and this will certainly be a talking point over the dinner table!

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        7. Christmas time is craft time

        Stay within your budget for cards and gifts by getting out your glue and glitter and make your own. Not only will you save a fortune, you will have some fun family activities and create something personal.

        Get inspiration on-line for some simple craft ideas from decorations to presents.

        8. Make some holiday food gifts

        Why not make some yummy food gifts to share as Christmas presents. From Brownie Jars (a mason jar filled with a simple to make brownie mix for the recipient to enjoy when they need a cocoa fix) to Jelly Bean Vodka (pick your favourite flavours and infuse an amazing cocktail – one of the grown ups!)

        There are loads of ideas you can find, here are just a few to give you some inspiration:

        Budget homemade jam

          9. Planning is everything

          There is a risk that, if you fail to plan, you will end up rushing in the days before Christmas to buy food and gifts you have forgotten. Instead, in plenty of time, make a list and decide what you need, that way you will end up only buying what you need without stress and will not have something vital missing from the Christmas day dining table!

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          List everyone you need to buy gifts for, all the cards you need to send and all the food and drink you want to have. You can then have the satisfying feeling of crossing things off the list and feel smug as others are rushing around the shops on Christmas eve!

          10. Remember, Christmas is supposed to be a special time

          It is easy with all the commercialization of Christmas to forget this is a special time. Whatever your religion, it is a time when families come together and we should take this opportunity to relax and enjoy time with those we love.

          So, if you cannot afford the most expensive gifts or the finest food, just do what you can. The holiday time is not a spending competition (even though it may feel that way), do what you can afford and make it special in your own way!

          Merry Christmas!

          Featured photo credit: www.deepertruthblog.com via deepertruthblog.com

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          5 Ways to Put Together an Event Without Stress

          5 Ways to Put Together an Event Without Stress

          We’ve all had important events that have required a lot of our time and energy to put together. Events like weddings, graduation parties, and birthdays often need planning, thought, and can be incredibly time consuming.

          Fortunately, there are some ways you can plan an event without tearing your hair out. In fact, putting together these events can be quite fun when you have the tools in order to help your event run smoothly.

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          Here are five ways you can make your event run smoothly and efficiently.

          1. Plan far in advance

          Oftentimes, the most stressful events are usually the ones that are planned at the last minute. If you know that you have an event coming up (such as a wedding or a birthday), and you plan for it ahead of time, you are less likely to find yourself running around at the last moment trying to get every detail perfect.

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          It might be worth it to sit down and have a planning session or two in order to relieve some of the stress of planning an entire party or event in a short period of time. The longer you have to plan, the more your event will eventually look like how you have imagined.

          2. Know where to give yourself a break

          While you might have a certain idea of what your event should look like (and more often than not, it looks like it should belong in a magazine), you might not have the budget or the connections to make it happen. Accepting the realities of planning an event, such as using fake flowers instead of real ones, or folding chairs instead of designer-brand chairs, can greatly ease your mind. Likely, you will still have a beautiful event even if it doesn’t match your mental picture.

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          3. Don’t invite too many people

          One mistake many people make is that they often invite too many guests to their event. Not only does this sometimes create unnecessary chaos, but it also requires extra planning, time, and food for the guests.

          Having hundreds of people at a wedding might seem like a good idea initially, but you might want to consider whether it is truly important to your day to have an extra hundred people attend. Not only does it run up the cost, but it can make your event all the more stressful—meaning you’ll be worrying more if there are enough canapés than whether you are having a good time.

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          4. Ask for help

          There are those who can put together an entire event on his or her own, and there are those who need a little help doing it. More likely than not, if you’re not a professional event planner, then it might be worth it to ask for a little help. Hiring someone to help you, even if it is just for some basic decorations, can take your mind off the little things, and can help you focus on the overall effect of the party. Even asking for a friend’s opinion can help you to feel like you have some control over the situation.

          5. Take a deep breath

          Remember, part of putting together a successful event is knowing that it won’t go exactly as planned. Being able to take a step back, relax, and enjoy yourself will not only help you feel as though you’ve done a successful job, but it will also help you to enjoy the special day that you have put together.

          Part of the fun of an event is accepting the mishaps and mistakes – it makes the day unique. After you’ve completed everything, remember to relax and enjoy the party. You deserve it!

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