The nights are closing in and that relaxing summer holiday you had is but a distant memory. We all know what’s around the corner: festive cheer. The sound of sleigh bells may be already filling some of you with joy but for those on a tight budget, Christmas can be something to dread.
The average British family spends £800 on Christmas – mostly on gifts. Many of us don’t have £800 lying around but gifts must be arranged, especially if you have children who are looking forward to a visit from Santa.
Worryingly, increasing numbers of Brits are turning to credit to put on a cracking Christmas.
If you’re on a tight budget and worried about Christmas, please accept these 10 neat tips to save money on Christmas gifts and cut the cost of Christmas gifts as an early festive present from us.
10 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts
1. Early Bird
Panic-buying on Christmas Eve is simply the craziest way to waste your well- earned cash. Think about it, it’s December 24th, it’s dark, the shops are packed with mad-eyed panic buyers like yourself and you’ve only got 10 minutes left on the car! STOP.
Beat the system, shop now.
One of the best ways to save money on Christmas gifts is to shopping early. By shopping for Christmas presents early, you’ll have the luxury of putting that bit extra thought into your gifts.
But most importantly, you’ll have time to shop around for the best discounts and put cash back in your pocket.
Just think – once all the gifts are bought (and wrapped if you’re really organised!) you can enjoy a glass of Prosecco in your PJs on Christmas Eve without the worry.
2. Make a List (and check it twice!)
Make a list of exactly what you are going to buy and cost it up BEFORE you hit the shops. This will stop you going off-piste when the time comes to shop.
You will also know exactly how much money you need to raise. Don’t add to it – the trick to this is to stick to your list like snow sticks to Santa’s beard….
3. Make it About The Kids
If you are expecting a large family around your table this Christmas, make a deal with them to just buy presents for the kids.
This will cut a lot of gift costs and will also have the added bonus of you not receiving that lavender talc or hideous reindeer jumper.
Your family might be relieved at not having to brave the shops pre-Christmas to buy a load of unwanted stuff. It also means you can have a lovely time without the frenzied present-giving that often happens in large families.
4. Crafty Christmas
Making your own gifts can save loads of money and homemade gifts are much more personal.
Are you a dab hand at making chutney or jam? Get some cheap jam jars and lovely ribbon and fill with your tasty creations.
Can you knit or sew? How about a cosy bobble hat and scarf for Grandad? It takes more time but costs a fraction of shop-bought gifts. Money Saving Expert has some great ideas for homemade gifts for a fiver or under here.
5. Points Mean….Presents!
Many of us have loyalty cards with the big supermarkets, or shops like Boots that you can spend on toys and gifts.
Log into your loyalty card schemes and check out how much you have – you may be surprised to find that you can cover most of the cost of Christmas gifts using points and vouchers only!
6. Online Bargains
Large companies and smaller shops all run sales and deals at this time of year.
A great way to find money-off deals is through social media as many companies only run their sales on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Also join the Money Saving Expert mailing list for Christmas and receive pointers to where the best deals are hiding.
7. Forget Friends
Not how much you love them of course, but present-buying among friends can really ramp up Christmas gift costs (and stress!).
Make a pact with your pals not to buy gifts this year. Believe us, they’ll be breathing secret sigh of relief too….
8. Kids Love Anything
Younger kids aren’t retail snobs. They will be happy just opening the gifts on Christmas morning. Downshift on toy brands and try to resist the latest YouTube- spawned craze.
For example, Asda does Sparkle Girlz toys that are half the price of Barbie accessories, and they’re in the sale right now.
9. Avoid this at All Cost
You want to have a lovely Christmas, but borrowing to cover the cost will throw your already tight budget out of whack.
If you absolutely must borrow – get a 0% card and make sure you budget to pay it off before next Christmas, as that is when the rate will jump.
Also check our article How to Avoid a Financial Hangover After Christmas for more tips and advice on avoiding festive debt.
10. Be Honest
If you are struggling financially, the people who love you will understand. Be honest about how little you can spare for Christmas and your loved ones will be happy to forgo their gift this year.
Christmas is about families coming together – not gifts – so honesty is the best policy here and the best way to save money on Christmas gifts.
Over to you!
How do you save money on Christmas gifts? Share your tips with us; we’d love to hear from you.
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