The Christmas celebration is around the corner with the christmas expenses and many can’t wait to begin their spending spree after all they have worked very hard for the money over the course of the year. Budget or no budget, they just have to end the year in a grand style by spending on what they really need and don’t need (as human need is insatiable). We have to understand the celebration is not an opportunity to break the bank; you can cut your losses by having a cheap and eventful Christmas to remember.
The reason for the season is to commemorate the birth of Jesus who is a model for simplicity_ born in a manger, possesses everything but was humble until physical death. The Christmas celebration is now being used by many to have nice time with families, friends and neighbors which isn’t a bad thing to do but some have found themselves in trouble when trying to meet up with the expenses of the season. Money that could have been used to plan for the New Year is squandered by some and then begin the New Year paying debts incurred in the season.
In a society like ours, people are fond of living an extravagant life even to the point of celebrations. Christmas is an opportunity to buy new clothes, slaughter animals, buy foods and expensive drinks, travel the breadth and length of the country, and several other expenses. Many don’t have a budget for the season but feels it’s a time to spend what they have saved all year_ It is just as if the reason for working and saving all year is to have an expensive celebration probably to show that their bountiful harvest needs to be recycled.
In my recent chats with friends, I noticed some of them are even ready to get a loan just to have an extravagant event with huge Christmas expenses. One of them said ‘’ Christmas is just less than a couple of weeks from this time, you won’t believe my account balance can’t even pay for groceries not to talk of foods and drinks, hair and nail fixing, clothes and so on’’. My friend really shows she’s a Nigerian when she asked if she could get a loan and then pay in the New Year.
While growing up, I remembered my father had to sell his poultry birds before the Christmas day to have a wonderful celebration. The proceeds of the birds’ sales (including the profit) is used to procure things such as foods and drinks, clothing, decorations, and so on. It is just like living not minding to die the next day because the outcome of the money spent doesn’t really matter to us at that moment but after the celebration. well, we give ourselves break from the celebrations in the name of fasting and praying in January and this is very common in many homes.
There are even competitions among neighbors especially those who live in a house with many rooms popularly called ‘Face me, I face you’ in this part of the world. Parents show their superiority in spending; they buy and show off their new clothing, kill more animals than their neighbor, some even want to surpass their neighbor by fueling their ‘I-pass-my-neighbor’ generator and so on. Those who doesn’t participate in this competition is seen as having a lesser celebration. this has led some to chew more than they can bite by breaking their bank to have a worthy celebration whereas Christmas is not a time to do beyond oneself.
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is not to be celebrated in rags and moody conditions. The period shouldn’t be an opportunity for people to live beyond their means and then suffer on the long run. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be called a Christmas celebration. You can have a cheap Christmas and enjoy the season and then plan for the year that approaches. There are things you could that will help to cut your losses this season. If you can’t afford some things you need now, you’ll definitely do in the next celebration so don’t kill yourself while using the lives of others as parameters to celebrate the season.
How to have a cheap Christmas
There are several things you could do to make your Christmas worthwhile. You don’t have to with that money you’ve been saving up to buy that landed property, car or your wedding ceremony. What you’ll eat or adorn in the few days of celebration shouldn’t affect your saving culture. You just have to be financially disciplined to get the best out of life. Do not let Christmas expenses affect your sanity in the new year.
Here are some tips to have a cheap Christmas without breaking the bank.
Be yourself: You just have to be yourself no matter what. Don’t because of your neighbor who bought exotic wines for the celebration and buy things that could have helped you in the pursuit of your next professional certificate. Be proud to have a Christmas budget that you stick to, one that doesn’t make you get a loan or borrow to execute and thereby taking you until the New Year to pay off.
It is not a must to travel for Christmas celebration: Christmas is a period where many travel to their country home to meet their relatives. You can cut the Christmas expenses by enjoying Christmas with friends and families in your area. There are free events all over the country this festive period that can make your December one to remember. By doing this, you also cut the loss of lives on the Nigerian bad roads that are jam-packed this period.
Draw up a frugal budget: You should have a record of your spending so you have to draw up a frugal Christmas budget factoring in the cost of food, gifts, clothing, decoration etc. it is not enough to draw up this budget but try your best to stick to it. If you’re going to shop for what you need then it must be in a list. Paying with cash rather than the credit/debit cards is safer in this sense, it will help you not to change your budget for the celebration.
Find the best deal: Comparing the cost of an item and finding the price is a great way to save. However, it is important to find the actual best deal. You just have to compare prices of things to buy. You may have missed the last Black Friday but you can still search for the best prices out there for the things in your budget. Christmas is not a time to show off, get whatever you need at cheaper prices and enjoy the season with peace of mind.
Get Free Stuff: There are free things in abundance this season you can lay your hands on. This can help to prevent wastage and get you going. You can also be creative in making the gifts you have for your friends rather than paying exorbitant prices for gifts that will affect your finance in the long run.
Party on the cheap: If you’re planning to celebrate Christmas with a meal out, find a cheap and cheerful place to do it. You can go for picnics where you’ll also meet people and share the happiness of the season. You don’t have to kill multiple chicken when you know eating in plenty is synonymous with the festive period. If your mates are showing off their cars, buildings and investments, would you still use your expensive partying in the period as a show off?
Make sure you have a wonderful Christmas celebration that you won’t forget so soon even though you’re not breaking the bank. The celebration is just for a few days, you don’t have to spend all you have and forget your future in so doing.
Do share with us your view/opinion on this topic. Thanks for taking time in reading this piece.