When you don’t have Christmas-related debt, it is so much easier to enjoy the festivities and the gift-giving.
It may be a tad late to build some of the following measures into this Christmas, but consider putting some of these ideas into place for Christmas 2012:
Savings plan/Christmas envelope
Start a dedicated Christmas savings plan. If you put away R500 per month into a savings scheme purely for Christmas, you could have R6000 by next December to spend on gifts and festive food. It may not be easy, but the payoff will definitely be worth it.
Consider buying a gift card from one or two of the major retailers. Every month, put an extra R200 into the card, so that by the time Christmas comes, you will have a healthy looking gift card with which to buy presents for family and friends, or buy festive munchies.
Agree on a gift budget
If money is tight, maybe you could agree to give gifts to the children only. Alternatively, set a budget, of possibly R50 per present. Or put names in a hat, and you buy the person whose name is drawn, a gift of an agreed amount. It may be a challenge to buy a gift of a specific amount, but it will get your imagination running.
Last-minute shopping is normally disastrous. You either spend too much or can’t find what you want. Consider shopping online – this will enable you to compare prices and prevent panic buying. If you are truly thrifty, you may have bought your gifts in the annual sales.
Most people love the idea that you have spent time, energy and effort on making their gift. Search the internet for novel ideas. Get the children and grandchildren involved in making home-made goodies.
A financial Christmas gift
We all have relatives and friends that could use a little extra moolah. Consider giving them a financial type gift this year. How about a gift card to a major food retailer or a tank full of petrol? Instead of crackers, give them lottery tickets, wrapped up with some decorative ribbon.
Gift wrap and tags cost a fortune. Consider using recycled magazines, newspapers and old calendars, and jazz it up Christmas style with beautiful ribbon or raffia.
Share the festive food load
Ask each person who is invited to the Christmas table to contribute to the menu. A “bring and share” meal is inevitably more interesting, especially when you have not had to prepare and cook all of the food.
Instead of a Christmas tree this year, how about looking for a branch of a tree, and spray it silver or gold, and pop it in a vase. Colour code your Christmas décor, from your tinsel on the branch to your serviettes and crackers.
Support your favourite charity with a canny solution
Paint a can whatever colour you like – add a label with the charity’s name on it, and decorate the can with all things Christmassy. Throughout the year, put all your R1 (or R2 or R5 –whatever you can afford) coins in the can, and next Christmas, donate the contents to your favourite charity.