Christmas is a time for family – and for many families, the festive season would be incomplete without presents, parties, tinsel and turkey. The problem is that as our families grow, so does the cost of celebrating Christmas. Don’t let budgeting woes ruin the most wonderful time of the year – here are 12 festive money saving tips to help you enjoy a stress-free Christmas.
DID YOU KNOW, that in 2015 Xmas an average family:
- spent £46 on Christmas cards…
- the cost of a family Christmas dinner in 2015 was £100.84 (Office for National Statistics)
1. Taste matters; brands don’t. Once it’s all cooked and served up, no-one will be able to see the labels on the Christmas dinner. Most people can’t tell the difference in taste between branded and own-brand products. With Christmas turkeys already so expensive, save yourself some money by going for supermarket own-brand options! Or simply visit ALDI or LIDL.
2. Make it personal. Photo gifts are a thoughtful way of giving personalised presents the whole family will love. Even better, many of the top photo gift companies run deals and offers in the run up to Christmas, making it an ideal inexpensive present for the people you love.
3. Get creative! Take personalized presents a step further. If you’re arty, make home-made presents – whether it’s sketches, hand-drawn Christmas cards, paintings or decorations. If you have young children, get them to make and decorate salt dough ornaments. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood, home-baked gifts will go down a treat. Add some Christmas spices to your trusty recipes for fudge, cookies and other tasty treats, for budget-friendly gifts with festive flair.
4. Kids don’t need much. We love to splash out on our children at Christmastime, and we dream of their excited faces when they open the super-expensive “toy of the year” you’ve seen in every single ad break on children’s TV. Cue feeling deflated when the big day arrives and they’re more interested in the box and the wrapping paper. This is especially pertinent if your children are under five, as this is the age when bright, shiny paper is far more exciting than the present you’ve painstakingly picked out for them. If there’s a big toy that they want, wait for the January sales to pick it up at a reduced price.
5. Do a workplace Secret Santa. These are great money saving exercises for groups of work colleagues; reducing the need for you to turn up with armfuls of presents for all your workmates. Setting a budget and sticking to it makes it fairer for everyone.
6. How about a family Secret Santa too? If you have a large extended family, running a Secret Santa could be a fun way of making sure everyone gets a present, and your bank account will thank you for it! It’s much easier than spending half your Christmas budget on gift sets for dozens of cousins!
7. Need a clear-out? Facebook selling pages have the edge on eBay, with no listing fees to sell on Facebook. It’s a great way of clearing out your clutter in preparation for Christmas, and adding more money to your festive fund at the same time!
8. Don’t be scared to buy from overseas. It’s always wise to exercise caution when buying from unfamiliar suppliers, but sites like AliExpress are reliable and adored by Christmas bargain hunters. The rock-bottom prices make it a perfect site for picking up budget-friendly stocking fillers.
9. Get cashback on your purchases. Top Cash Back and QuidCo are the leaders here. However, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a good deal – there’s no point paying through the nose, just to get cashback! Find great deals and bargains, and if cashback is available – bonus!
10. Use free stuff sites to grab stocking fillers and other freebies. From free Christmas cards to mince pies, at this time of year companies are keen to give away products to tempt you into purchasing more (resist!).
11. Do some comping. Admittedly, competitions aren’t a sure-fire way to get your Christmas presents – but whether you’re a casual entrant or a hardcore comper, websites and blogs run giveaways and competitions for all sorts of products, from gift experiences and vouchers to toys and stocking fillers.
12.Don’t go off-list. If you’ve gone to the effort of making a budget and creating a shopping list accordingly, at least stick to it! Don’t be drawn in by other flashy, expensive items you see in the shops. It takes willpower, but if you stick to your shopping list, your wallet will thank you!
BONUS TIP: use money saving apps!
Don’t compromise on joy this Christmas! With these simple budgeting and money-saving tips, you can enjoy a fun-filled family Christmas with all the trimmings, without worrying about debt when the New Year rolls around!