Although the shops were gradually reminding us that
Christmas was on its way back in August, if you’re anything like me, you’ll only really be starting to think about it now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are over.
- Write a list of the people you need to buy presents for, set a budget and jot down some ideas. If your list involves children, make a few calls to see what they are into at the moment. Buy a few things each week to spread the cost. The earlier you start the better!
- Extended families could organise a secret Santa type present buying rule. Every family member buys a present for one another (drawn from a hat or by using an online generator such as www.secretsantaelf.co.uk). Set a limit per person and stick to it.
- Agree to only buy presents for the children in your extended family.
- Consider making some homemade gifts. I love pinterest.com for this kind of thing – it’s full of inspiration. Festive jars of jam or chutneys. Some home baked biscuits wrapped in
Christmas colours. Homemade bath salts. There are so many easy to follow “how to” guides out there, you don’t have to be a craft expert.
- Offer vouchers for your time instead of presents (these are great for the kids to do too!). Here are some examples:
An evening babysitting
A day tidying the garden
An evening meal (cooking and serving)
- How about creating some word art? Sites such as www.wordle.net will gather meaningful (or just plain random!) words together and create a picture for you for free. Print it out, stick it in a frame and voila - a lovely and unique present!
- Make decorations with the kids. Old favourites like paper chains, paper snowflakes and stain glass windows (black card with shapes cut out and tissue paper stuck over) are simple and fun. Again, check out pinterest.com for some more adventurous ideas!
- Look out for the sales leading up to
Christmas. Sign up to the Money Saving Expert’s weekly email and you’ll often get advance notice of these.
- Use loyalty points towards the costs of gifts.
Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for magazine subscriptions, days out and lots of restaurant deals.
Nectar Card points can be used at a variety of different places.
Boots’ Advantage card is great for treating others (or yourself!)
- Compare prices before you buy any presents and find the best deals. Use sites such as www.kelkoo.co.uk and www.megashopbot.com
- Search for discount codes when shopping online. www.vouchercodes.co.uk and www.myvouchercodes.co.uk are popular.
- Sign up to cashback sites such as www.topcashback.co.uk and www.quidco.com and buy through them for all your online shopping.
- Ebay is always a great place for a spot of
Christmas shopping and finding some bargains.
- Local Christmas Fayres are brilliant for finding local handmade and unique gifts and it's great to support small independent businesses - you’ll be helping the local economy too!
- Make a list of all the
Christmas food essential and start stocking up on the non-perishables now to spread the cost over the coming weeks. Think about what you can make yourself and look out for festive favourites that are reduced that you can freeze for the big day (like nice stuffing, pigs in blankets or joints of meat).
I love the Feed Your Family for £20 Facebook Page and website. They have some fantastic Christmas food tips here: www.facebook.com/fyf20quid/
- Consider donating to charity rather than sending
Christmas cards. I’ve done this for several years now. I don’t send cards to my friends who are on Facebook, I just post a festive message on Christmas Eve and add a fun video (see below) or festive photo.
- Have a toy clear out to make room for the new things Santa will bring! Sell your unwanted items on local Facebook selling pages or in the local paper for free and make a few extra pennies to go in the
- Enter competitions to try and win some
Christmas presents! Money Saving Expert has a great guide to comping.
- Write your
Christmas cards before the last second post date of 20th December and use second class stamps to post them.
For a full list of last posting dates visit: www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas/last-posting-dates
- Some free
Personalised video from Santa: www.portablenorthpole.com/home
Elf Yourself – fun personalised
Christmas greetings: www.jibjab.com/holidays
There are some ideas for you.
What are your top tips for cutting the cost of Christmas?