Sticking to a budget when the kids are back for Christmas

Sticking to a budget when the kids are back for Christmas

When the kids are home for the holidays it’s tempting to spoil them rotten and feed them up. But if money’s an issue, try these savvy ideas…

When the kids are home for the holidays it’s tempting to spoil them rotten and feed them up. But if money’s an issue, try these savvy ideas…

Christmas can be a costly holiday, with presents to buy and the traditional lunch to shop for.

On top of all that, you’ve got even more mouths to feed now the kids are heading home from uni for the holidays. And to make that student loan stretch further, they’ve probably been living on a meagre diet of baked beans and plain pasta for the last few months, so you’ll want to feed them up!

Follow these smart tips from Fairy to make sure your budget doesn’t feel the strain of stretching that bit further.

Stock up on snacks

University isn’t all about partying. Many students have exams in January and important essays to hand in after Christmas. And there’s one thing that can help them through the endless rounds of revision and writing: snacks.

Stock the cupboards with brain foods that have memory-boosting properties, such as blueberries, pumpkin seeds and nuts. For an easy (and inexpensive) festive twist that will fill the house with Christmassy aromas, bake some unsalted mixed nuts with honey, smoked paprika and butter.

Keep the Christmas Day treats hidden!

You’ve probably already stockpiled the most important and expensive items ready for the build-up to the big day, and the last thing you need is for the Stollen bread to be eaten, or the bottle of Port to go walkabout.

Place the items you’re saving for Christmas Day itself on a shelf or cupboard out of the way: better still, stick Post-it notes on them to warn the kids to keep their hands off!

Make and freeze meals in advance

It’s easy to forget how much food your growing son or daughter can get through. So a good way to keep them fed is making batches of easy, one-pot meals – like curry, stew or a chilli – and freezing portions in plastic containers.

If you still have to work over the Christmas holidays, get the meal out of the freezer first thing (when your student is no doubt having a long lie-in!). Then, by the time dinner comes around, the meal should be defrosted, and all they need to do is pop it in the microwave to heat it up.

The most cooking-averse student can manage that – even if they still can’t boil an egg – and it’s kinder on your purse than lending them cash for a takeaway.

Look for meat alternatives

In many households, Christmas involves multiple meat feasts of turkey, ham and sausage meat. So cutting down on the amount of meat eaten in the run-up to Christmas Day can slash your household costs.

Swap out meaty dishes in favour of fresh, quality ingredients like new potatoes, kale and chickpeas. Try vegetarian dishes such as nut roast or ratatouille. And bulk everything up with fresh fruit and vegetables – something they may be omitting from their student diet, so it’s a great opportunity to top up on vitamins, too!

Plus, with the money saved, you can spend more on family activites you’ve probably not done since the kids were little, like trips to see the latest blockbuster or ice skating.

Shop smart

Just because a product’s label is cheaper on the supermarket shelf, it doesn’t mean it will work out better value in the long-run. Buying a quality product you know will deliver and last longer means you have to stock up less often, ultimately saving you cash.

You’ll have more dishes to wash with an extra person at home, so Fairy Liquid, for example, gives you 50% more clean dishes* and lasts longer, so your household budget goes further. Your Fairy might even last into the New Year!

*vs traditional washing liquid

What’s your top tip for reining in spending at Christmas? Let us know in the comments section below.

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