Christmas is such a wonderful time of year – I know not everyone feels like that, but I certainly do. I love getting all the family together and spending such great quality time. I love playing lots of games, eating loads of gorgeous food and I love drinking a cocktail or two too many. What else do I love about Christmas – I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get inside thinking about Christmas. I love seeing all the houses get festive, the Christmas markets starting, the Christmas songs playing on the radio. The list goes on, but you get the gist, I love Christmas.
However; I can see that Christmas can get totally out of hand and spending can become ridiculous. It is sad to hear of people getting into loads of debt just to do Christmas in the way they think they need to. So I wanted to share a couple of money saving tips and some ideas on how to maybe make a few changes this year that may help.
Make a Budget
My mom drilled into me from a very young age to not spend beyond my means. By doing a budget you are able to look at what money you have coming in and then plan out what money is appropriate to spend, to ensure you don’t go beyond your means. It may seems simple, but it will be a big help in knowing what you actually have to spend and therefore where you can distribute your spending.
Make a List
This is another really simple money saving tip, but in actually making a list of what you are buying, and sticking to it, it will stop you seeing things when out and about (or online) and just popping them in the basket and over spending. Lists work for decorations, food, presents, new party outfits – anything you may want to buy during this festive period.
I know some people prefer online shopping and others love actually going into shops and physically picking out what you want to buy. Whichever is your preference, just do a little bit of preparation first. So, if you are using the two points above, you should have a budget already set for each category (i.e. what you can spend on food or presents) and you should also have a list of what exactly you are buying (i.e. for each person or what food.) So it should then very easy to look online before you begin actually buying things to compare the price of each item across a few different retailers, to make sure you are getting the best price.
Use cash back sites
For people who don’t like to shop online this won’t be massively useful; however there is lots of money to be saved this way. Places like Topcashback and Quidco offer money back for absolutely nothing, other than clicking through their site to buy the product. So the idea is, before you decide to buy your party outfit from ASOS (for example), go onto either topcashback or quidco and type ASOS into their search bar. It will then tell you if they are offering any money back deals at that time, for that retailer. It may be that the one site offers 4% cash back and the other offers 5% cash back. So you would chose to go through the site offering the highest cashback. You just click through to ASOS from the money back site and it then logs your purchases. The site will log that you clicked through and purchased something and you will eventually get the percentage of money back into your account, which you can have transferred to your bank. (The reason I say eventually, is that each retailer is slightly different in how quickly they pay out the money.)
Another great money saving tip, is using voucher codes. Really simple again, but so easily forgotten. Before clicking purchase on anything online, always remember to check your emails for any offers you may have been emailed. If you don’t have any email codes, have a quick google too. You can normally find loads of money saving codes online.
Gift sets can work out to be great value for products. By that, I mean an actual saving of what those products would cost outside of a set. However; they may still end up being more than you want to spend on someone ( if you are sticking to your budget.) There’s no reason though, why you can’t buy a gift set, take them apart and use them as separate gifts. You could then add a little something else, if you wanted to, that would complete the gift but still end up being quite a lot less than the total gift set price. You could that way create gifts for a few people from one gift set.
Do they need or want this?
This is another good question to ask before spending your hard earned cash on someone. Is the present you are looking at buying something this person would actually want or need? This thought process should hopefully stop you spending unnecessary cash on presents just for the sake of buying something.
Doing a secret Santa is a great way to save a few pennies. You can use this within the family, as well as friendship groups. There’s ten of us within my one group of friends. So rather than buying ten presents each, we just use Elfster to automatically draw who you will be buying for that year and it emails the persons name to you. That way you have a budget set and only have one person to buy for. We also tend to give quite a few present ideas. That way the present is still a surprise, but fulfils the point above – do they actually want or need this.
Secret Santa also works in families too. If you have lots of adults in the family that you buy for like Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and so on, you could opt to do a secret Santa. That way you all only buy one present rather than for everyone, which will save a fortune.
If you have a lot of children in your wider family you could still do something similar. Get all of the parents to draw a secret Santa for which little one they buy for.
Home Made Presents
This is another great money saving tip whilst also being a lovely thoughtful, personal touch. I’m not particularly creative myself, so won’t give loads of ideas – but my main advice is to play to your strengths. Whether it be baking, sewing, knitting, drawing or any other talent you may have.
One home made gift that has always gone down well is home made fudge. Really easy to make, yet super tasty and very cost effective.