Friday, 9 December 2016

Financial Life(style):- How to have a super cheap but fabulous festive season!

The Christmas season is once again upon us. With the global economy being the way it is, this year we could all do with a few money saving tips and tricks to make Xmas more pleasurable and less (financially) taxing and painful.

Just like with other holidays, such as Diwali for instance, Christmas has become a time of spending vast amounts of money, causing many people to lose sight of the true meaning of this Holiest of events. It need however not be this way and you can still enjoy all the traditions that go with this occasion, without breaking the bank in the process.

Think out of the box when it comes to gift giving. Less can indeed mean more and it is honestly not about the cost of the gift/gifts you give to others that gives it/them true value. Creative thought comes into play when it comes to your festive menu as well, and with a little initiative and some inner magic, you can create fabulous spreads on a shoestring budget. 

Below I shall be sharing a few money saving tips when it comes to yummy Christmas food as well as some heartfelt yet cheap gift ideas to help you out where it counts (in your wallet region that is). 

Here are some great and budget friendly Xmas (and New Years) meal ideas:

1. Instead of cooking a whole expensive leg of lamb or gammon, why not have a cold cut/ cold meat Christmas? This works especially well in countries where it is summer during Xmas time (like South Africa). 

2. As an alternative to cold cuts and expensive meats, one could also prepare a few delectable fish dishes as an easier as well as cheap alternative to meat. Trout, salmon and haddock are great choices that won't strain or drain your finances.

3. Why spend a fortune creating elaborate side dishes whereas a few simple yet delicious salads will compliment just about any main dish you choose to serve (cold cuts and fish dishes included)? You could for instance make a simple three bean salad by adding one can of baked beans, one box or can of French green beans and one can of red kidney beans. Another easy salad you can make is a basic three ingredient potato salad for which you will need four medium sized peeled and boiled potatoes (cut up into bite sized pieces), three hard boiled eggs ( also cut up into small pieces) and two cups of mayonnaise. The focus should be on simple. For more ideas do an internet search entitled "simple, easy and cheap salads". You will be amazed at just how many recipes are out there. The above-mentioned two salad ideas I have given you are just simple ones I have been making for years when I am short on time and not in the mood for great cost or effort. I guarantee you will find many more exciting choices online when you go in search of ideas.

Now for some budget friendly gift and decorating ideas:

1. Instead of buying elaborate gifts for your parents and/or in-laws, you could take a few photographs of your family (or if single, just of yourself) and print these out at home for placement into simple cheap wooden frames. Once framed, let your children decorate the frames or if childless/single you could decorate these yourself. Trust me, a gift like this would mean way more to any parent than even the most expensive store bought item. Sentimental gifts are all the rage! 

2. If you have children, you can alternatively give them a little holiday project in which they draw a picture with special meaning for each relative, which you can frame in budget, seamless glass frames and then give to the intended respective family members as gifts with an ultra special meaning. 

3. Child-free? Then why not bake a few holiday cookies/fudge, or make a few holiday style candies or other treats, which can then be placed in beautiful, inexpensive tins and given out as gifts to friends and loved ones. This type of gift is such a thoughtful gesture with a personal touch that adds to its charm. 

4. Why purchase expensive holiday crackers when you can use toilet roll inners, left over wrapping paper and/or crepe paper and some cheap corner shop sweets/candies to make your own at a fraction of the cost?

4. Don't purchase expensive Christmas tree or table decorations when simple objects (such as pine cones, roll on deodorant balls and string et cetera) paired with a can of metallic silver/gold spray paint can make ornaments to die for at the price of pennies compared to their store bought counterparts. 

These are just a few ideas to awaken the frugal and creative genius that lives inside each and every single one of us. As said before, search the internet for more ideas and/or be creative and brainstorm!

Here's hoping you have and absolutely amazing Christmas and a blessed new year! Be safe and be happy!

With love, Debbie Vermaak Nel/Mortal Life Modes.


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