How to save money on gifts this Christmas

Santa claus' naughty and nice list

Yes, we mentioned the C-word. You might not want to think too much about Christmas just yet but it’s rapidly approaching and it will be here before you know it. That will probably mean that life is about to get a heck of a lot more expensive.

Yes, Christmas can be such an expensive time of year and with almost a month to go, time is ticking to start your Christmas shopping. This is normally the time when I start thinking about it, but I generally end up buying last minute for some reason. My son, brother, sister and dad’s birthdays are all in December, so I start to feel the pinch by the time my Christmas shop is over. This year, I decided to be a little more organised with my Christmas plans and make every effort to save where I can. With the uncertainty of Brexit looming over us, it seems that 42% of the UK’s nation are also feeling the financial pain of this festive season, says My Voucher Codes’ survey that was conducted to 2,300 people in the UK.

So, here are some quick tips on how to maximise your shopping budget and limit unnecessary spending in time for your last Christmas shopping rush:

Make a list and check it twice

Santa Claus' naughty/nice list
#He’s making a list and checking it twice, going to find out if you’re naughty or nice…#

If Santa can make a list of who he will be giving Christmas presents to this year, then so can you. If I had a million pounds sitting in the bank, I would buy every single person I know a Christmas present. However, I am not that flush and so this year, I sat down and made a list of close friends and family who absolutely should receive a gift, bearing in mind that I have four family member’s birthdays falling in the same month, so, that’s eight presents already.

Once you’ve written the list, are you able to trim it down a little at all? Do you buy for second cousins whom you rarely see? Maybe a card for them would suffice this year, especially if you get them a personalised Christmas card. You can find some great Christmas cards from Card Factory, which are not overpriced. Perhaps speak to them about it; they might be glad of the reduced expense too!

Set yourself a spending limit

Once you’ve worked out exactly who you’re buying for, you need to set yourself a spending limit to ensure you don’t end up seriously out of pocket. You can grade the limit depending on how well you know the person, but you need to make sure you stick to it or you can end up looking at a nasty surprise on your bank balance. Set yourself a limit on spending on the children and your partner too, no matter how tough it might be to enforce when you get into the spending habit.

Consider using your credit card

My Voucher Codes’ survey found that 56% are still using paychecks to pay for all their Christmas expenses, while 30% are using their credit cards. It may be worth considering using a credit card if you are sure that you can keep your monthly repayments, as some cards offer a 0% interest rate. Make sure you check how long the 0% interest rate lasts for because these credit card companies can raise the APR up to as high as 18.9%. So, make sure you pay them off before they bite.

Start shopping early

The earlier you start your Christmas shopping, the easier it is to spread the cost out, reducing the chances of having to pay for everything all at once. Some people like to pick up presents throughout the year and even start as early as the January sales! If that seems a bit early then you should really get a move on once October rolls around as Christmas really is only just around the corner.

Seek out the sales and utilise deals on the internet

Woman shopping christmas

The beauty of our generation is that we no longer need to make that mad rush to the shops and resort to buying the last item on the shelf. Oh no. There are so many options available to you online now and my go-to favourite, especially for last-minute gifts, is Amazon. They can provide some truly amazing deals, even up to 80% off the original price, so you are bound to find a bargain if you’re looking hard enough. Moneysavingexpert.com (an amazing resource website for saving money all-round) have created ‘Amazon Discount Finder’ which “manipulates Amazon web links to create customised bargain-basement pages”. eBay is also a great site for grabbing some awesome gifts at a fraction of the cost (more tips here.) Don’t be discouraged by the fact that some items may be used, however. Some of the auction items are labelled as ‘used’, even if they have barely been used once.

If you look hard enough, you can also even find some summer sales around with great knock-off prices, meaning you can get a little more for your money.

Do a secret Santa

Secret santa

Secret Santa is normally reserved for those at work when everyone pulls a colleague’s name out of a hat and you buy a token present for them, rather than shelling out for several people at work. However, you can also do this amongst friends and family, and it works particularly well if you have a large family. You can use cool websites such as Elfster so that everyone can draw up wishlists of gifts, ensuring everyone gets something they want.

Think about making your gifts

What do you give someone who has everything? A personalised one-of-a-kind gift that has been made by you or your children. Personalised gifts carry no price tag because they are created with love by you. Sometimes they can be the best gifts to receive because they are so personalised and all you need to fork out for are the ingredients and supplies to make them. Some great seasonal presents can include Christmas cookies in a personalised jar or a keepsake box full of little items that hold sentimental value to you and the recipient. And, if it all goes wrong, just blame it on the creativity of the kids (just kidding!)

These are some very quick tips on how to save in time for Christmas Day.  Do you have any tips for easing the Christmas cost? Let us know!

How to save money this Christmas

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Leyla Preston (564 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 6. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/