Holiday season is a time during which we often spend without really thinking. That’s why many of us start the New Year with bad surprises when the bills need to be paid.
Start by writing the list of people you’d like to buy presents for and the amount allowed for each. Set a budget for nights out, when you’re invited (transport fares, presents for hosts, alcohol, etc.) and when you’re the host (food and drink costs, etc.). You’ll see it’s an excellent exercise, without which you’ll find yourself panic-buying in the shops on 23rd December, not knowing who you want to give what present to or the number of presents to be fair to everyone. Think about hand-making your gifts instead of buying them. You could prepare chocolate truffles, shortbread biscuits, or chocolate hazelnut spread for you friends. Take a look at our suggestions for you.
Black Friday at the end of November can help you save on electrical gadgets, that are always welcome under the tree. You can buy toys second hand: classified ad websites are a great place to find bargains.
When it comes to Christmas dinner, the traditional turkey is always an inexpensive choice. From the last week in November, when our southern cousins celebrate Thanksgiving, you’ll find great prices in grocery stores from around 2.50 dollars a kilo. And these prices continue each week up until Christmas, at least in the larger supermarket chains. If you don’t like turkey, there are many other budget festive foods like these Chicken in a Puff Pastry Shell. A fondue can be another interesting solution, since frozen meats can often be found cheap. If you like pasta, these Penne with Smoked Salmon are a choice enjoyed by young and old. Try our budget Christmas menu (around 6 dollars per person).
Another increasingly popular budget solution is potluck dinners. Since everyone brings a dish, you can share the cost of the evening, and reduce the amount of work for the hosts. To make it more interesting, you can choose a theme (for example, traditional Christmas dishes from all over the world), which will be a conversation topic throughout the evening.
When it comes to the drinks, replace expensive French champagne by New World sparkling wines. Check out the Californian wines, there are excellent bottles sold for around 33 dollars each.
Instead of spending all your time in crowded shopping malls, buy your gifts online, in the comfort of your own home. Apparently buying online is five times quicker than physically shopping. That’s why one out of every four Canadians buys at least one Christmas present online. This means you’ll have more time to relax, or do a little exercise (which will help you eat a bit extra without feeling guilty).