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Have a merry Xmas... on a budget

Yes you should have been saving for Christmas since July but you have not yet managed to squirrel away a single penny. Now, with only two months to go, you are wondering how on earth you are going to buy presents for friends and family and host sumptuous Christmas lunches. The good news is that this Christmas frugal is in and extravagant spending so very last year. Here's how South Africans are making Christmas affordable and still having fun. 

Change your attitude
Christmas is about well-deserved holidays, spending precious time with the people you love and enjoying our wonderful South African summer. It is not about expensive gifts and who made the best Christmas dinner. Remember the spirit of Christmas and you have won half the battle.

Presents
Here are a few ideas for cutting down on the cost of presents: 

  • Chat to friends and family and agree to only buy presents for children.
  • Plan a Secret Santa so that family members only have to buy a gift for one person.
  • Make homemade gifts: there are literally hundreds of ideas for homemade gifts online.
  • Give gifts of service: paint a room for gran or give a busy mom a break and babysit the kids for a weekend.
  • If you do decide to buy presents for the whole family set a reasonable price limit on the gifts.

Shopping
The rules are simple. Before you hit the malls decide who you are going to buy presents for and how much you are going to spend. Resist the temptation to buy gifts on impulse or to overspend. Do not take your credit cards with you when you shop and don't buy anything on your store cards. And remember to give yourself plenty of time to buy your gifts it is those desperate last minute buys that always seem to get you in trouble. 

Festive food
Ask each family member to contribute a dish to the Christmas lunch or dinner. Not only does this save money it also saves the hostess hours in a hot kitchen! 

Final word
Plan and spend carefully this Christmas and avoid the January money blues. What better way to leap into 2014? 

"Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more...." Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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