Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Merry Christmas on a Budget

One minor downside of a February baby is that, by their first Christmas, the statutory maternity pay has stopped. You're living on one (or no) income and trying to figure out how on earth you can pay the bills, let alone give your new bundle of joy their first Christmas in the way you'd like. I've thought long and hard about this. Here are my ideas on how to keep costs sensible and still enjoy a very Merry Christmas.
  1. Don't go overboard. While I can't wait for Little Monster to be old enough to love the magic of Christmas and Christmas presents, in reality he's not there yet. He'll be 11 months old and more than happy to watch sparkly lights and play with boxes. Of course we're getting him some presents. But there'll be a few wrapped empty boxes too, because I know he'll love it. I know that we don't need to go mad on presents for him to have a great day.
  2. Smart shopping. If you're prepared to do a little leg work on the interweb first, you can't probably find your gifts for significantly less than if you buy them in the first shop you see. Sign up to the daily deals websites like Zulily and you might be able to find what you're looking for at a significant discount.
  3. Secret Santa! It's lovely to have met so many great new people since Little Monster was born but buying Christmas (and birthday) presents for so many little people can really add up. A group of us have decided to do a secret santa scheme for all of the 1st birthdays so that we're not all buying loads of presents and you could do the same for Christmas if you're exchanging gifts with friends.
  4. Make It! It's not everyone's cup of tea but I've met a lot of very creative mums out there. Put your creative skills to the test and knit, crochet, sew, cut, stick and bake your way through your Christmas list. Handmade presents can be lovely and unique and they don't have to cost the earth.
  5. Buy handmade... Not everyone can make their own gifts but you can buy handmade gifts and they are often great value. Little Monster is now the proud owner of a lovely personalised stocking from this Etsy store. Etsy is a great place to find something a bit different for those difficult-to-buy-for people too.
  6. Something old, something new? I have to confess that I buy most of Little Monster's clothes second hand and I decided to buy some small Christmas gifts for him second hand too. The thing is, clothes and toys are grown out of so quickly that you can buy them like new and Little Monster will probably only use them for a few months! I stumbled on a great second hand kids clothes and toys stall at the market where I picked up a couple of small presents.
I'm sure there are other ideas out there and I'd love to hear yours. How do you keep costs down at Christmas?

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