The festive season is a joyous time of year but it can be financially draining. Try our ideas for having a great, low-cost Christmas, with less spending. After all, the holidays should be about family, friends and recharging after the long year!


1 | Don’t buy wrapping paper

homemade wrapping paper

Source: Fiskars


Making your own wrapping paper from craft paper, stamps, stickers and felt tips pens is a great family activity. And along with saving the cost of store-bought gift wrap, it’s better for the environment.


You can also use plain paper and decorate your present with ribbon, string, flowers, leaves…you name it!


2 | Make your own Christmas tree

You can make a Christmas tree out of just about anything you have lying around the house, including books, ribbons, fabric, a ladder, egg cartons or even branches and sticks from the garden. This article has some fantastic ideas.


3 | Make your own decorations


Source: Mums Make Lists


You can also make your own decorations from things lying around the house or even stuff that would otherwise go in the bin. Get together which a bunch of friends and family have a creative session. There are tonnes of ideas on Pinterest.


4 | Take advantage of sales and specials

Keep an eye out for sales and specials in the lead up to the holiday season and buy your presents or decorations then. For example, Black Friday is near the end of November and most retailers and online shops have amazing bargains.


5 | Have a Christmas money tin throughout the year

piggy bank

Source: Big Stock


Putting aside some money every month throughout the year can add up to quite an impressive amount when it’s time to do your Christmas shopping. Even if it’s just a big jar of your loose change that you take to the bank at year-end, every bit counts.


6 | Don’t buy excessive gifts

Reduce the number of people you buy gifts for. Buying gifts for people you barely know is a bit of a gamble and the costs of even small gifts can add up quickly. Give some thought to what you buy as well and make sure it’s something the person actually needs or wants.


7 | Gift favours instead of presents

Sometimes, a gift of your time can be much more valuable than a physical present. You can offer to help someone paint their house, bake them a cake or give them a homemade voucher for something like a massage and a photoshoot if you’re in those professions.


8 | Check if you have coupons or cash-backs

A lot of retailers have loyalty cards that result in vouchers once you’ve spent enough money. After an entire year of swiping your card every time you shop, you might be surprised at how many coupons or vouchers you’ve accumulated. 


9 | Have a picnic or braai instead of a big lunch

braai spot

Source: Drive South Africa


In South Africa, we’re lucky to have our holiday season over the summer. So instead of spending the day indoors and preparing a huge lunch that’s probably over catered anyway, have a simple braai at your local park or a picnic at your nearest botanical garden.


10 | Have a big family outing instead of gifts

If the costs of individual gifts are adding up, or it’s just not your thing, consider a big family outing as an alternative. Look out for bundle specials on entry tickets to somewhere unusual or just head to the beach for a day of sun, sea and ice cream. It could be an experience that you treasure for a lifetime.


11 | Ask for help from friends and family

You may view Christmas day as a labour of love but there’s no need to do or pay for everything yourself. Ask friends and family to pitch in with their time and ask people to contribute to food, drinks and decorations. It’s only fair that everyone works together to make it a fantastic day.


12 | Make your Christmas about giving back

For many families, the festive season is a stark reminder of how little they have. Some prices tend to be higher around Christmas too, which put additional pressure on those who are already struggling financially. A fulfilling way to make a difference this Christmas is to forego the excess and rather donate your time, money or food items to a worthy cause.


If you need affordable storage space over the holidays, contact us – we can help. Either way, we wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

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