Many of us are feeling the financial crunch after an especially tough year. And with the festive season fast approaching, the added pressure of extra expenses like gifts and entertainment is an obvious concern. So that you don’t have to start the new year struggling to repay the cost of this festive season, take a look at these creative and meaningful ways to celebrate Christmas without straining your budget.
1. Secret Santa gift exchange
Secret Santa is a fun and easy, money-saving way to exchange gifts with family and friends. The basic concept is simple: each participant chooses a name out of a hat and is responsible for buying that person a gift. Usually a value is set on the gifts so you know how much you need to spend. And because you only need to buy one gift, instead of multiple gifts for every family member or friend, you save a heap of money!
2. Give cards instead of gifts
Instead of a gift exchange this year, consider sending greeting cards. Even better, include a donation with your card in lieu of a gift. Shop at your local charity shop or look online for a charity gift card option. Like these ones from The Giving Tree or NZ Bird Rescue. Another option is the Good Registry’s charity voucher service. Search the internet and you’ll find hundreds of charities who rely on support, especially at this time of year. Choose your charity, pick your greeting card, add your message and order your cards. Easy!
3. Make homemade gifts and cards
The best gifts come from the heart, so why not give something you’ve created yourself. Homemade gifts add a sentimental touch you simply can’t buy. It’s also one of the best ways to save money! Wherever your skills lie – be it in baking or crafting – surprise your family and friends with a homemade gift this year. Pinterest has a wealth of creative ideas to help you get started.
4. Give your time instead of your cash
There’s never been a better year to give back your time instead of spending more cash. Extra volunteers are especially needed at this time of year, so why not volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or hospice? Find a neighbour in your community who needs a little extra help – mow their lawn, help run errands or do their shopping. Every little bit helps and there are so many people who would appreciate your time more than a store-bought gift.
5. Focus on the celebration
It’s easy to get caught up in the frantic spending frenzy of Christmas, and lose sight of the real meaning behind this time of year. This festive season, instead of ticking off an endless to-do list of shopping, cooking and socialising, choose to recognise all you’ve accomplished over this particularly tough year, and spend time with family and friends.
Wishing you the very best of the festive season from all of us at Mortgage Express.
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