Excessive dinners, family visits, presents, new balls and a Christmas dress every year: Christmas is not cheap - but it is possible.
The Dutch keep their Christmas spending reasonably under control compared to the rest of Europe. We spend around 465 euros per household on gifts, groceries, new clothing, a tree with decorations and associated electricity costs and on Christmas cards with stamps.
In the rest of Western and Southern Europe, the average is 623 euros, according to research by Center for Retail Research. So we do it economically, but it can be much more economical. So it is all fun after Christmas, says budget coach Tineke van den Tillaert.
Neither meat nor fish
If anything has become more expensive this year it is meat and fish. The prices were almost 5 percent more expensive on an annual basis in May of this year, the CBS calculated, and that is the largest price increase in almost a year and a half. The average Dutch person eats more than 77 kilos of meat per year. Replace the turkeys, partridges or venison steak for a nice vegetarian recipe and you save a lot on the Christmas dinner. For comparison: a turkey costs around 40 euros at the quality butcher. A cauliflower costs 1 euro.
Open rommella and check the pillows from your couch
Part of the earnings model of the VVV voucher: the non-cashed coupons that are in bank linings, blown away, hidden in a book or have been in your rommella for years. Planning to buy a nice dress, a new perfume or a nice Christmas tie? Pay with your gift voucher. Maybe your Christmas choice gift from last year is still there.
Look in your closet
We hardly know what is in our closet and spend the money quickly on a beautiful piece of clothing during the holidays, says budget coach Van dern Tillaert. "Dive into the back of your closet and see how you can make your outfit beautiful with a small purchase, such as a cardigan or tie."
Let lifters pay and travel together with the train
On family visits to the other side of the country? Save on petrol by taking a paying hitchhiker. On BlaBlaCar.nl you can post your ride and pick out lifters. Little scary? Woman-only rides are also offered. Those who prefer to travel by train can travel together cheaply on public holidays. With a group of 4 to 7 people you travel together to a destination in the Netherlands for 8 euros per person each way.
Everyone a walk
Eating together with friends and family? Let everyone take something with them, says budget coach Van den Tillaert. "That is fun, surprising and that is how you spread your expenses. Let everyone take one course and get the groceries for yours in the offer. An extensive dinner with endless courses sounds nice and luxurious, but not everyone is waiting for it , especially children not, according to the budget coach.
"Keep it simple, and don't be tempted by all the marketing around Christmas. Everything seems to be excessive, with a lot of luxury. It's about being together, and everyone actually knows that."
Unpacking more fun than the gift
Children love presents, says the budget coach, but especially a whole mountain. "They are more concerned with unwrapping presents than they have to contain a lot of expensive things. Put some practical things in between the presents, such as socks or a pajama."
The most important tip, says Van den Tillaert: set a Christmas budget and stick to it. "In this way you prevent making choices based on scarcity."