Christmas On A Budget

Although you may be forgiven for assuming that Christmas cheer engulfs the whole nation from December 1, this is not always the case. Aside from the massive amounts of anxiety this time of year can bring on to those suffering from mental health issues (nothing is worse than having to “perform” for tactless family members or feel like the only one not brimming with fucking joy at the sight of the John Lewis ad), Christmas can also equal a great deal of expense.

 And with one in four children in the uk growing up in poverty it is safe to assume that not all of us are looking forward to the money pit that is Christmas.

People assume that being poor means that you can have a ‘handmade Christmas’, or use Facebook selling groups and buy second hand… well, yes and no. Handmade decorations are not cheaper. You have to buy the materials and you have to be able to allocate the time to do this. And selling groups are great… if you have a car. If you don’t it’s often two bus fares and several hours to get a £5 toy.
Let’s start with Christmas dinner. You don’t need to have a turkey. Chicken legs and thighs are more succulent and come up lovely when roasted. I’ve been following the @OnePoundMeals chef Miguel Barclay on Instagram for a year now. Last year he put up a recipe for Christmas dinner which came in at under £1 a person using chicken legs instead of turkey. He shopped around for his, but if you have an Aldi, Lidl or Asda near you you can replicate this pretty well. I’ve pasted it below, but you get the idea.

For 1 person, you will need: 

Chicken leg: 50p (4 for £1.99 – Aldi)

1/4 red onion: 3p (9 for 79p – Asda)

1 tsp cranberry sauce: 5p (200g for 69p – Asda)

Breadcrumbs: 2p (use bread in cupboard)

200g potatoes: 10p (2.5kg for £1.19 – Lidl)

30g stuffing: 6p (170g for 34p – Lidl)

1 rasher bacon: 10p (14 for £1.29 – Lidl)

30g sprouts: 5p (500g for 70p – Asda)

1 tsp gravy granules: 3p (170g for 70p – Asda)

TOTAL: 94p

Decorations are also expensive. But a little can go a long way. If you are not time poor paper chains look nice and are relatively cheap to make. But I found them very hard to get hold of last year. You can of course make your own- if you have the time. Otherwise, Poundland and the pound store have really stocked up this year with garlands and decorations which will brighten any room. And the Pound Store is now online so you can order for delivery if you can’t get into town, but it costs an extra £5.

It may be crazy to even think about presents if money is really very tight. Mostly, children want something to unwrap on the day and will excuse it not being the exact thing they asked for. Use selling groups if you can arrange a pick up and charity shops if you can get to them. Again, this is really hard if you’re time poor and working also. I’m not assuming you have a lot of time to browse charity shops. Look for deals online – a lot of places start their Christmas sales early. Likewise if you’re shopping in actual shops a lot of stores will start their Boxing Day sale on Christmas Eve, so you can get deals early.

In terms of thinking ahead – I really hope you’re not in the situation you’re currently in next year, but it’s worth thinking about making the most of the sales to stock up with things you may be able to sell on. Boots for example slash 75% off their gifts towards the end of January.

Mostly, I would say that it is important to remember that it is just a day. It is just a meal on a day and it only lasts for as long as a day does. It is up to you and you alone how you spend that day.
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1 Comment

  1. Josie
    December 7, 2018 / 6:52 am

    I love this! Thanks for challenging the ‘handmade gifts’ brigade! If you don’t have a lot of money, chances are you are working every hour god sends and in no way can do this. I love paper chains! Why oh why did they stop making them?

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