Christmas may well be the most wonderful time of the year. But if we’re not careful it can also be the most ridiculously expensive time of the year too.
Between the presents, the food, the decorations, and festive activities it can be so easy to spend far too much money at Christmas.
With a bit of planning and some creative thinking though, you can still have a great Christmas without spending a fortune.
To get you started, here are 17 ways you can save money this Christmas.
1. Instead of buying new decorations, if last year’s are looking a bit tired, try making your own or seeing what you can find in nature to decorate your home. Pine cones, holly and mistletoe should all be quite easy to find on a winter walk, and all look lovely and festive.
2. Make a comprehensive list before you go food shopping, and stick to it. Don’t be tempted by all the special offers on extra treats that you’ve not budgeted for.
3. Make use of your various loyalty cards. If you don’t spend your points throughout the year you’ll most likely have a nice amount to spend on Christmas gifts or goodies, in places like Boots, Tesco and Sainsburys.
4. Give the gift of your time or skills, instead of buying something, for people who might appreciate it. You could make a fun gift voucher to give to them, offering a few night’s of babysitting, or your very own subscription service where you bake them a batch of something yummy every month for a few months.
5. Take advantage of any early offers that you see at the supermarket on things that will keep until Christmas. So tins of chocolates, Christmas pudding and alcohol, that sort of thing. Just hide them away so they actually last until Christmas.
6. Before you head out Christmas shopping make sure you’ve had enough to eat, so you don’t end up splashing out on a coffee and a snack while you’re out.
7. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, think about asking your guests to bring something along with them, like a box of crackers or some after dinner chocolates. Most people will be happy to contribute and to take some of the pressure of hosting off you.
8. Get crafty and make as many presents as you can. Homemade gifts and yummy home-baked treats always go down well and are often more thoughtful than generic shop-bought presents.
9. Don’t get into the ‘one for you, one for me’ mentality! There are so many lovely things in the shops at Christmas time, but have some control and don’t go buying things for yourself. Instead make a note of the things you see that you like, or snap a photo of them on your phone, and then when people ask you what you would like for Christmas you know what to say.
10. Get creative and put cheaper items together in pretty boxes or small hampers to make lovely, personalised gifts that don’t break the bank.
11. If you have a lot of friends or family members to buy presents for, ask them if you can agree on a set budget for each other.
12. Another option for a group of friends, colleagues or family members is to do a secret Santa, so each person only has to buy for one other person in the group.
13. If there are people that you know you won’t see until after Christmas, then think about waiting till the Boxing day sales to buy their presents.
14. Check online price comparison sites before you buy anything to make sure you’re getting the best possible price.
15. If you and your siblings all have children you could do what my family have done, and agree to only buy Christmas presents for the children and not for each other. Or you could give a ‘family present’ like a new board game and a big tin of chocolates rather than giving presents to each individual family member.
16. Get organised and write your Christmas cards nice and early. If you get them done before 18th December then you can use second class stamps, rather than paying out for first class.
17. Start buying presents early, and as much as possible stick to a list. This should help to avoid last minute panic buying which more often than not involves spending more than you planned. For bigger ticket items like jewellery and earrings, shopping early during Black Friday or Cyber Monday enables you to save a lot of money.
For example, BlueNile (a company with UK operations), offer up to 25% off jewellery pieces during this period of time. This means an item that retails normally at £200 would now be £50 less!
How many of these things do you do already?
Do you have any other money saving tips for Christmas? Please do leave a comment and let me know if you do!
This post is linked up with KCACOLS.