Money for us, like many is tight. It especially was in my first year of living in America when we were getting a little too comfy with our overdraft. Things have picked up, especially with my ebay store but the tips and tricks for getting Christmas in the red pays true regardless of the size of your wallet.
Challenge yourself to keeping to a budget
Me and Joe challenge ourselves to buying each other's presents within a set budget - this year $100. Buying presents for Joe would be fun regardless of a budget but having that limit makes myself really think about just how best and how cost effectively I can spend the money. Take note of deals, free shipping, online coupons and you can get a lot more for your money than you might imagine.
The online auction site can be great for selling your old junk that you can get some extra spending money from, but it's also great for buying presents from. If you choose to sell make sure to mention tags in the title like "Christmas" "party" etc etc and you're good to go. There's a tonne of new items on ebay - it's not all used and abused and you can find some great deals if you know how to search that site - in honesty most of my Christmas presents for Joe has come from ebay and I have no issues admitting that.
Do make sure to note your countries postal deadlines though!
Christmas is as much about the food as anything else, but if you're keeping to a budget, eat to your budget. It's so easy to over buy and over bake too much food, food that sadly gets thrown out. Work out from recipes exactly what you need and stick to it. Ask guests to bring a dish, a bottle. If it's just the two of you - eat to your needs, consider cheaper options - frozen vegetables, ham instead of turkey. Eat what you like, not what you're meant to like.
Stocking up at estate sales/garages sales or second hand stores and even online you can store some perfect Christmas items - especially decorations. You can find Christmas decorations at estate sales year around, just as long as you can remember where you stored said pieces and you're good to go!
Buy Out of Season
Prices rocket when Christmas is around the corner, but as soon as January comes around Christmas stocks gets reduced so grab your bargains. It's a great time to stock up on your wrapping paper, cards to decorations and even a new tree - that's when most of our Christmas decorations and even the tree was purchased as huge discounted prices.
It's easy to be distracted by all the shiny items that seem to appear at Christmas, it's easy to give in and want it all.
How do you manage your money at Christmas time?