Christmas is quite literally the most expensive time of year (unless you got married on the Greek island of Santorini in June) which means your bank account is going to want to punch you in the face and knee you in the kidney come the New Year. That is, of course, unless you choose to follow our flawless Cheapskate’s Guide To Christmas which will ensure you don’t even break a financial sweat over the festive season, in fact, you’ll probably make a profit.
Our guide is divided into two levels of money saving, the Cheapskate and the Ultimate Cheapskate, depending on just how much cash you want to save/make this Christmas.
So, follow these tips and tricks to keep Christmas within the budget this year.
If you’re hosting a Christmas function this year, ask everyone to bring a dish, that way it takes the pressure off you cooking and doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
When they arrive, take each dish and put half in a Tupperware container in your fridge, then serve the remainder on a smaller plate and explain that you just want to make sure everyone gets their crockery back at the end of the day, that way they think you’re thoughtful and not stealing their food. If you invite twenty guests, you won’t have to buy groceries for a month.
If you’re hosting a Christmas function, tell people to bring wine. It can be hard (and expensive) to cater for a whole crowd at Christmas, so if everyone brings their own alcohol they get to drink what they like without you footing the bill.
When they arrive, take their wine and hide it under your bed. Then serve them cups of goon with ‘sticks of cinnamon’ that are actually just sticks. Inform guests upon arrival that you’ll be serving all drinks personally as the fridge is in your bedroom ensuite, when really you just have ten goon bags and a bucket of sticks in there. No one will know any different and you can just blame the bad taste on the ‘cinnamon sticks’, which come recommended by Gwenyth Paltrow. Plus you’ll then have all these fancy bottles of wine that you can take to other Christmas functions you get invited to.
During the festive season, you often lose most of your time and money to present shopping, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Try capping everyone’s present to $20 and instead adding a thoughtful and personal card that they can keep forever.
Put yourself in charge of Kris Kringle at work this year. Assign everyone a colleague to buy for and then on a separate sheet of paper assign each co-worker a member of your family. Pretend to then drop thoughtful hints about what your workmates want to each other, except Kristy doesn’t like Glasshouse candles, your mum does. Ask them to then hand all their gifts, wrapped and unlabelled (for special Christmas monogramming at Mimco later), to you. Take them home and write your family members’ names on them and then announce at work the next day that you donated them all to charity because the gift of giving is the best gift at all. And then celebrate with wine and cinnamon sticks.
Decorations can often be extremely expensive, especially if you’re forking out for glassware and customised ornaments. Don’t go all out this year, instead head to a discount department store, like Kmart, where you can pick up a tree and decorations for $20. If people ask, just explain that you’re keeping your decorations minimal this year so you can spend more on presents.
Just like with Kris Kringle, offer to be in charge of decorations at work. Splash out on the fanciest decorations you can find, the more kikki.K Christmas ornaments the better, then take all the receipts to accounting and make an expense claim. On the last day of work, offer to stay late and take all the decorations down so the office doesn’t have to waste time in the New Year cleaning up. Take all the decorations down, pack them up and put them in the boot of your car, drive home and set them up in your house. On the first day back at work, arrive early and put the boxes just inside the front door and make a big deal of storing them away so no one suspects anything. Repeat this every year and until you change workplaces. Do not invite colleagues to your house over the Christmas break.
For more helpful Christmas advice that won’t get you arrested, check out all of the best Christmas Day dining in Melbourne.
Image credit: Bruno Martins