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“When did Christmas get so expensive?” We think it to ourselves every year. Every year, the festive season seems to sneak up on us and upon consulting our bank statements we realize that we are woefully unprepared for the oncoming expense. But therein lies the problem. Very often Christmas becomes so expensive because we are unprepared. We fail to lay the groundwork throughout the year and can find ourselves leaning on loans and credit cards which can lead to a spiral of debt that lasts well into the new year. One thing’s for sure, Christmas can be a real source of anxiety for many households.
The good news here is that there are many ways to drive down the cost of Christmas and still have a wonderful and fulfilling day. And the even better news is that it’ still not too late. With a little careful planning and lateral thinking you can ensure a happy and cost effective Christmas this year and every year.
Carry out an energy efficiency audit
When our thoughts turn to the cost of Christmas, they inevitably turn to presents, gifts, alcohol and the inevitable huge spread (more on that shortly). However, we mustn’t overlook the hidden costs of the season. For example, the extra energy costs incurred in the colder months may not be the most obvious thought that springs to mind but they can drive up the festive price tag.
Carrying out a festive energy efficiency audit can help you save on energy bills every winter. Walk past your windows. Do you feel a chilly draft? Even if you have double wrap windows that doesn’t mean that you’re getting the best protection from the cold and your energy costs could still be going (quite literally) out of the window. Consider upgrading to super energy efficient windows from Boulder Window. These will save you money all year round. They will seal heat in over winter and keep your home cool in the summer, saving you money on air conditioning.
It’s also worth taking a look at your attic insulation. If you see evidence of rodent infestation like tiny bite marks, burrowed holes or droppings it may be compromised. Replacing it will make a big difference in keeping your home warm. If your radiators don’t quite feel as warm as they should, don’t worry, you probably won’t need to replace them! Try adding a radiator additive which has a greater surface area than water and so is able to absorb more heat.
Get those Christmas lists in as early as possible
Nobody wants to ruin the illusion of Santa for their kids, but waiting until the last moment to get your kids’ Christmas wish lists is a passport to a nervous breakdown. Don’t spend your week leading to Christmas ducking and diving around frantic toy stores or paying over the odds for fast delivery from online stores. Get your kids’ Christmas lists as far in advance as possible. This will give you plenty of time to shop around for the best prices.
Plus, if their expectations are way in excess of the household budget, this also gives you an opportunity to let them down gently and manage their expectations, channeling their thoughts towards more affordable gifts.
Have a happy, healthy veggie Christmas dinner
We all assume that Christmas dinner is an absurdly costly enterprise, but much of this cost is absorbed by a huge turkey. If you’re looking for a way to keep the cost of Christmas down without robbing yourself and your family of the enjoyment that comes with a delicious Christmas dinner, consider going veggie for this coming Christmas. There are a great many tasty and indulgent vegetarian and vegan Christmas dinner recipes which are just as tasty and satisfying as their meaty counterparts but a whole lot cheaper… They’re also much healthier, more ethical and better for the environment, too!
Don’t bother with Black Friday
This year’s Black Friday has already been and gone but a tip for next year would be… Don’t bother with it. Aside from the outbreaks of violence, the nightmarish parking and the whiff of corporate cynicism that accompany it, Black Friday can wind up costing you more than it saves. Unless you happen to find a great deal on something that you were going to buy anyway, it is just another way of spending money you can’t spare on stuff you don’t really need or want.
Don’t stop saving
Finally, many of us suspend our savings over the holidays to give us more money to spend. Don’t. When we do this, all too often we don’t remember to start paying into our savings again until well into spring. In fact, now is the perfect time to ditch your high street savings account and find one that will make your money work harder for you!
The more effort you put in now, the easier it will become to make festive savings each and every year!