Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year as many may put it, is not so wondrous on a low budget. Without any lab work or scientific research, these 5 easy ways are a readily available remedy of how you can bring back the festive spirit without breaking the bank. Family, food and everything fun are the components that make up Christmas and for all to come into place a certain amount of financial muscle is required. These ways will not set you free from having to bring something out of your savings but will reduce the need for that.
1. Family time
The Christmas period is a time where people aim to spend time with their family. The travel costs associated with trying to bring the family in one place for the festive celebrations may bring a great strain to the budget. This however, may be addressed by travelling early before transport and fuel costs hit a hike due to the holidays. Another alternative is for family members to come together and travel in a single big vehicle to avoid incurring too many travel costs. Taking a Zimbabwean only point of view, visiting family members in the rural areas is a very important thing during this period hence these may be feasible ways of spending the Christmas period with Gogo and Sekuru.
2. Christmas activities
Most people choose to sit in during the Christmas period as they share the belief that all Christmas related activities are expensive. There are plenty of low to zero budget holiday activities that can get you in the festive mood. Traditional activities such as the telling of folklore, reading Christmas stories may come in handy as they are entertaining and educative at the same time. Hide a bunch of small gifts like candy and stickers around the house and send each child on a personal hunt for their gift. Families have to be on the lookout for spots that offer specials during the Christmas period. Some popular places in town may offer specials and time with Santa. All in the spirit of Christmas!!!
For this, people have to let their creative juices flow as taking advantage of the DIY era we are in as a great money saver. Making homemade gifts which will come to use even after the festive period are a great idea. Basic art skills can also be manipulated to come up with ideas like homemade Christmas cards and decorations. This is a great time to support local crafters as their work can make up great presents for the whole family at affordable prices. And since it’s the season for giving, why not give something you deem surplus to someone who needs it? Donate your clothes, stationery and food to local charity organizations in your area. Remember it’s the thoughts that count!!!!
It’s not a festive season without great cuisine anywhere in the world. In a bid to satisfy this need, many end up putting themselves at the mercy of the looming January disease by overspending. To avoid this, make use of home produced foods and avoid buying in surplus especially in the case of perishables. Having a home garden and orchard is a great way of cutting unnecessary food costs. Many local recipes can be manipulated to create great dishes for the whole family to enjoy. Meat is an inseparable food item from Christmas time free range and home bred chickens can prove to be an amazing delicacy. Home braais are popular during the period so a great idea for this is avoiding having more than enough meat and bring and share concept can be a great initiative. For those with a neck for liquor, this is a period to reconnect with your roots especially when visiting the country side and enjoy opaque beer.
Just because it is Christmas doesn’t call for the creation of a home studio. Take advantage of your home stereo and other music playing appliances to entertain yourself. While at this, make sure local artists are supported by not playing pirated stuff. For the old ones make use of those Thomas Mapfumo and Tuku cassettes and discs in your possession and for the young ones bump to your Seh Calaz, Few Kings and Ti gonzi, Simba Tagz and Ammara Brown with the family. This is a cheaper and great way of enjoying your Christmas music besides going to clubs and other expense attracting functions.
Christmas is a great time to ignite that sense of family togetherness and giving, taking note of the period beyond that. These 5 ways will prove to be great help in being your budget manager to improve your spending from previous festive seasons.
By Sandy Ndoro