Be the Host with the Most this Christmas
Money saving tips for the best Christmas on a budget!
Christmas is fast approaching and somehow it’s you that is hosting it this year. So lots of family members will be descending on you on Christmas Day, and some probably also staying over for part of the season.
It’s an exciting time! Children in particular will love having all the extra people around. But for hosts it can be stressful, not to mention expensive.
So how you can you ensure that you are the Host with the Most this Christmas, but also that you don’t end up frazzled and broke? There are ways that you can host a wonderful Christmas whilst still saving money. Try following our Seven Steps to hosting your best Christmas ever!
- There is no “I” in team
This is a phrase we tend to use in work or sporting contexts if someone is trying to steal all the limelight and leaving the rest of the team out. But funnily enough, this can apply in social gatherings such as Christmas as well. How many of us have been in the situation where the host is running themselves ragged but refuses all offers of help. It can get very uncomfortable for everyone. We would all much rather chip in and let the host enjoy it as well.
So take that on board and make it clear up front that although you are hosting – and delighted to do so – it will be a team effort. Perhaps get the children to help make a list of jobs upfront so that people know what to expect. No-one will mind, in fact people like to be involved and will be glad of something to do
- Say yes to everything
Leading on from the above, with everyone being given responsibilities, you need to be flexible enough to allow them to do things differently from how you might do them. But go with the flow. If people offer to bring anything – be it food or drink or their own bedding – the answer is yes. Similarly if they volunteer to organise some entertainment for the children or a games evening for everyone just let them do it. It will give you a much-needed chance to relax: remember it’s your Christmas too.
It’s also only fair to share the cost as you will be feeding everyone for a day or more. So do actively encourage people to contribute as much as possible to food and drink so that you don’t get left with large bills to pay.
- Don’t stick with tradition
When planning your Christmas menus, don’t feel you have to stick with tradition unless you particularly want to. If you all love turkey and Christmas pudding then fine, go ahead with that. But if you all really prefer something else such as curry or pasta or fish then why not? Being realistic, if you have a large number of people then whatever you do is not going to please everyone. So why not plan something different for a change, something that will be fun and probably cost a lot less than turkey with all the trimmings.
- Start your food shopping now
The good thing about planning your menus early is that you can start your food shopping now. Buy as much as you can in advance. If you can buy some non-perishable items – like canned, dried and frozen goods – every week, you will be able to get well ahead of yourself and avoid last-minute panic buying.
The reason that most of us spend too much money on food at Christmas is that we don’t plan ahead and leave everything till the last minute. We then get swept into the great Christmas supermarket frenzy – like rabbits caught in headlights – and it is so easy to spend money we haven’t got on things we don’t really need. As well as costing a small fortune we then get left with mountains of waste afterwards.
So plan ahead. Also take into account what others are bringing. Then when it does come to the last minute shop you should have a clear idea of what you still need and should be able to get it all done in a leisurely manner.
- Shop around
The other advantage of starting your food shopping early is that you can shop around to get the best supermarket deals going Most of the major supermarkets offer deals and discounts in the run up to Christmas so keep your eyes open and vary your shopping habits to pick up the best bargains from each. Don’t forget that Black Friday is also on its way, which may be a good opportunity to stock up on some items.
It is also worth looking at smaller online delivery companies – such as organic food and vegetable boxes. Many of these can offer good value on fresh food and seasonal produce, and many are likely to have special Christmas deals coming up. Delivery is usually free.
- Get into the kitchen!
If you enjoy cooking and baking you can prepare a lot of Christmas food in advance. Whether it’s Christmas cake, pudding, mince pies, frozen desserts, gravy, stuffing or all manner of other things; the more you can do in advance, the more you will be able to spread the cost over several weeks and the less rushing around you will have to do when Christmas comes.
It can work out cheaper to produce home made food than buy it ready made – particularly if you get together with friends to buy ingredients in bulk and share the cost. You can then either divide the ingredients up between you or each make several of the items you are best at then swap them around with each other
- Box clever with leftovers
The biggest waste of money over the Christmas season is the amount of food that doesn’t get eaten and ends up being thrown away. If you think of that in terms of throwing money away you realise it needs to stop. So when planning your Christmas menus it really pays to think about portion sizes to ensure that you are buying and making enough food but not far too much. But you also need to be creative and use up anything that does get left over.
Boxing Day is traditionally a time for using up leftovers from Christmas Day. This year why not make it into a fun event, similar to your own version of Ready Steady Cook. You can either do it just with your own guests or perhaps club together with neighbours for additional variety. Ask your guests to bring ingredients with them to help use up the Christmas Day leftovers in a creative way. It could be the ideal opportunity for someone to create their trademark curry or pasta bake, and will help to create another day’s food without any additional expenditure from you.
Whatever you do this Christmas, we hope that our seven steps help you to stretch your budget that little bit further and enjoy Christmas without worrying about money. Check back here soon for more money saving tips from Logbook Loans.