Christmas can be an expensive time of year for most of us and it’s so easy to overspend on things you don’t really need and end up paying the price in January (and beyond)!
I’ve put together a little list of things that help me to save me money at this time of year in the hope that some of them will also help you to save a little bit too. A lot of them are genuinely common sense and you’re probably already doing most of them but it’s always worth a quick reminder, isn’t it? 😉
If you’re not going to be visiting someone until after Christmas then you could always buy their presents in the Boxing Day sales and save yourself a fortune. Boots especially has always been my favourite sale on Boxing day as the bargains there have always been fab if you can get in early enough.
Check your loyalty cards and use whatever points you have to buy presents and any extra food and drink that you will be buying. Tesco are running their ClubCard Boost again this year where you can double your points in certain areas of the shop and even though I didn’t think I had many points to spend, a quick check of my account online showed me that I had enough points to boost and buy an Xbox game that was on my son’s list for just £3 after I cashed in my vouchers.
Always shop around before you buy something and check online voucher websites before you buy anything at all online. When you have the best prices you can get, make sure you then use cash back sites for any purchases, I tried this last year and earned almost £20 back on an £80 shop.
Make sure you work out in advance what your Christmas budget is and stick to it. It’s a long time till the next pay day in January if you overspend and run out of money! If you go over in one area of your budget then you need to cut back elsewhere (common sense I know).
Once you’ve finished your shopping make sure that you resist temptation to buy any extra little things – no matter how much you think someone will like something because all the extra few pounds here and there will quickly add up.
Agree a spending limit with family and friends who you usually buy for and consider just buying for the kids in the family. Don’t feel bad about asking the question as they’ll probably be just as grateful as you that they don’t need to spend as much.
Even better than agreeing a spend limit would be to have a Secret Santa with your friends and family so you only need to buy one present. You’ll save a fortune, especially if you have a large family and because you’re only buying one present, you can even spend a little more on it.
Shops like Boots and WHSmiths often do a buy 2 get 1 free offer on gifts so consider buying your presents from there to save some money. They have so much in the 2 for 1 that you’re bound to find something for everyone on your list. Just make sure that the prices can’t be beaten elsewhere before you buy.
If there’s something you have your eye on for Christmas that you think might be in the sales then wait! You won’t wear that coat or use that new handbag on Christmas Day so wait an extra day and get it cheaper.
Don’t be afraid to buy presents from e Bay or from charity shops. We’ve bought some great bargains from our local charity shops recently – lots of which I would be more than happy to give as gifts.
Don’t pay for postage unless you need to! Where you can, try and and deliver cards to people who live near enough to you rather than posting them – save on a stamp and have a mince pie and a chat at the same time.
Have a charity box at work and give a few pounds to that instead of buying cards for everyone – saves money, time and it’s for a good cause. We have one and it’s so much better than writing out a stack of cards that most of us probably forget to take home anyway. 😉
Make some homemade gift tags using last years old Christmas cards or for the kids we just stick to one colour wrapping paper rather than labelling. This year Master Frugal is red so any of his presents will be wrapped in paper that is mainly red.
Don’t be tempted to buy food you won’t eat yourselves. This one sounds obvious but isn’t necessarily the case – none of us like Christmas cake but until a few years ago we used to buy one anyway for visitors to nibble on.
Don’t be tempted to buy a huge turkey just because it’s Christmas and you think you should – either buy a smaller turkey crown or even just a chicken like we do. We have a gammon joint and chicken instead of a big turkey. If you do have a turkey and the inevitable leftovers then you can find lots of ways to use them up here.
If you’re having people round, don’t be scared to ask them to bring a plate of food and something to drink. It’s not cheeky and they probably won’t mind at all – in fact, they’re probably thinking about asking you what they should bring anyway.
Don’t buy more than you can eat – the shops are only shut for one day, two maximum and genuinely, you don’t need to stuff yourself silly just because it’s Christmas. Buy one or two treat things each week in your shop in the run up to Christmas and then don’t go crazy when you shop just before Christmas.
An even better way to resist Christmas food and drink temptation would be to shop online – if you can get a good delivery slot then it’s a much easier and stress free way to do the Christmas shop.
Just in case, keep all of your reciepts in an envelope where you can get to them quickly in case you need to take anything back.
Stock up on batteries now as there’s lots of offers around for buy one get one free at the moment. I’m pretty sure that the deals won’t be on nearer to Christmas when they know that people need to be buying them.
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Image credit: Shutterstock, mator