On Benefits? Here Are Some Money Saving Tips to Stay on Budget Without Committing Benefit Fraud

Celebrate Christmas without blowing the budget or sacrificing the holiday spirit. Money saving tips for a frugal holiday season if you are on a low income or benefits.

If times are tight in your household, you’ll be looking for ways to save money this Christmas, says Martin Lewis who writes for Money Saving Experts and works for the London Benefit Fraud Experts.  Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune or need to commit benefit fraud to enjoy a happy and festive holiday season. Read on for some inspired ideas for gifts, decorating and entertaining that won’t blow the budget.
Frugal Christmas gift ideas

Recycle. Scour your local thrift shop for books, toys and even clothing items. You’ll not only be saving yourself money but also helping the planet by reusing someone else’s unwanted items. Or throw a swap party with friends and “shop” without spending a cent.

Agree on a financial limit for gifts with friends and family. Keeping the value small, e.g. $5, can make for some interesting presents.

Organise a Secret Santa with friends, family or workplace colleagues. Each person buys one gift, which is then distributed anonymously to another participant. You can vary the ways in which the gifts are distributed and set a limit as to how much should be spent on each gift.

Homemade Christmas gift ideas

Baking makes a great, inexpensive gift and is a fun way to get the kids involved with Christmas preparations. Get creative with cookies, brownies or sweets treats such as fudge or truffles.

Offer your time to friends and loved ones. Free babysitting, car washing or pet sitting will be appreciated just as much as an expensively wrapped gift. Get the kids to design and make coupons offering your particular services.

Money saving ways to entertain this Christmas

If you’ve got a family gathering planned why not host a talent show? Make sure you give guests plenty of advance warning to prepare their act. Ideas could include a magic show, singing, telling jokes or even performing a short play. Or organise a series of games that everyone can play together.

Take a walk around your town to admire the Christmas lights.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to include the cinema or theatre enjoy a movie night from the comfort of your couch. Or break out the board games and host a games night.
More frugal Christmas tips

Deck the halls for less. Head out with the whole family and collect pine cones and greenery to decorate your home. Kids can get crafty with spray paint and glitter to personalise your look. Or pop some popcorn and string it up around your home.

Save on wrapping paper by reusing old magazines and scraps of material. Old comic books also make for a fun layer of wrapping.

Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to turn into Scrooge. Focus on creating experiences this Christmas instead of buying material possessions. You’ll end the holiday season on budget and with plenty of happy memories. In fact you might even save yourself some money!